Tag Archive | "XC skiing"

New XC Ski Book Released – Wild Shot by Andy Liebner

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April 04, 2012 – The book titled “Wild Shot” is now available. Wild Shot is outwardly about the external physical demands and internal mental demands of the winter sports of Cross Country Skiing and Biathlon. Author Andy Liebner discovers that sport is not just about training and competition; it’s a metaphor for a deeper aspect of life. Sport is a quest! To rise to the top requires a heroic journey to encounter and overcome external and internal barriers, and Andy runs into far more of them than you might think possible. The barriers are relentless. But he learns that his biggest enemy is inside his head and if he masters his fears then he wins.

Author Biography of Andy Liebner – Wild Shot

Andy Liebner is a fast young Alaskan who went from top junior and collegiate XC ski racing results to signing up for the military the day after 9-11 to then racing around the world to see how far he could go in XC skiing and biathlon. He had many surprising adventures along the way and learned what it means to go it alone (with help from friends). Breakthroughs and frustrations alike abound in his story. The barriers were ENDLESS and only got BIGGER, yet Andy persevered. The finale is fascinating with major twists.

Andy particularly enjoys training with various pals, including some of the best athletes in the world — such as the #1 all-time biathlete, “King Ole,” Ole Einar Bjorndalen. He’s trying to see what they do that makes them so good and he passes along what he learns. Andy includes practical insights on the factors separating skiers who are on their way up, including his best tips for technique, and advice on the toughest challenge: the mind game. His races give us heat-of-the-moment action ranging from DQ’s to big wins.

There’s business and marketing, too, when Andy starts repping for a wax company in the middle of racing and then becomes in demand as a winning wax tech. But he just wants to race!

It’s 250 pages of page-burning fun — with nail-biting cliffhangers.

In 2010 Andy won the US Marathon series and in 2011 he won the U.S. National College Cup and added two more All-American certificates to his resume. Nowadays he’s back to globetrotting, coaching Olympians, and working in the ski industry.

Bid Packet Update for 2012-2013 NENSA Events

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April 02, 2012 – Attention Race Organizers: If you are interested in submitting a bid for a 2012-2013 NENSA event (TD Bank Eastern Cup and Championship events), a bid packet will be available online at www.nensa.net at the end of April. Please contact Janice Sibilia at janice@nensa.net with any questions or if you would like a packet emailed to you.

Telemark Resort Eager to Partner With American Birkebeiner

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March 29, 2012 (Cable, WI) – In an effort to partner with The American Birkebeiner, Telemark resort has laid out the following win-win proposal to keep the start and many of the Birkie functions solidly located at its original home at Telemark Resort.

Some of the challenges the Birkie is facing is the uncertainty of access across several parcels of private land including the Cable/Union airport as well as several parcels of private land north of McNaught road. The financial security of Telemark Resort has also been a concern given past closures and ownership changes.

Telemark believes that the two can help offset each other to provide a secure future. Telemark has the trails, meeting/expo space, parking and infrastructure, while the Birkie has the event with its 9,600 participants and the millions of dollars they bring to the area.

A successful partnership between Telemark Resort and the Birkie also translates to the success of other events in the area that use Telemark Lodge (Fat Tire for example) currently and potential events that can come to the area (IPC World Cup for example). A successful Telemark Resort also translates to more jobs, increased tourism in the area and more traffic for local businesses. It’s not just a win-win partnership between Telemark Resort and the Birkie, but a big win for area, businesses and the residents.

Telemark is amenable to any or all of the following solutions:
– Allowing guaranteed easements to all existing trails on Telemark property for the weeks of Birkie, Birkie Tour, Birkie Trail Run and future events as necessary.
– Providing Birkie Trail access to the public 365 days of the year with no fees.
– Offering similar easements on other Telemark lands for construction of an alternate start area closer to Telemark resort, and new trail to connect to the existing Birkie and/or Classic trails.
– Offering permission and support to continue improvement and redesign of trails across Telemark property.
– Telemark to construct a heated expo center, (possibly old Coliseum pad or Hytte location) which could greatly increase Telemark’s ability to handle Birkie Expo, Registration, bib pickup and more in addition to the 25,000 sq. ft of meeting space currently available at Telemark.
– Offering Birkie land options to construct maintenance/storage building(s) in close proximity of Telemark Resort and/or Birkie trails.
– Providing office, secretariat and headquarter space during events or year round at no charge.
– Provide a permanent space for a Birkie museum at no charge to preserve history and legacy of the events.
– Providing additional parking space for participants which will help for the growth of the event and actively work with The Birkie in finding solutions to traffic congestion, bussing routes and reducing skiers walk distances.

Telemark is proposing the Birkie to agree to the following:
– Staging of the Birkie, Korte, Haakon start, the Birkie Expo, registration, Bib pick-up to be returned to Telemark Resort.
– Finish for the Korteloppet, Haakon, Birkie Trail Run and Birkie Tour to remain at Telemark.
– Lease the new expo center for the week of the Birkie and/or other Birkie events for a 10 year renewable term.
– Provide Telemark Resort reasonable marketing access to Birkie participant database for promotions and non-competing events.
– Annual event usage fee for Telemark Resort to remain the same.

In summary, Telemark feels it is important to create a solution that is good for the community as a whole. With the right approach along the lines of what is detailed above, the ski community and the Bayfield County businesses and residents will benefit and the legacy of the Birkie being located at Telemark will be preserved.

Worldloppet & FIS Marathon Cup Season Wrap – 2012-2013 Events Announced

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March 28, 2012 – It was December 2011 – the first FIS Marathon Cup of the season was drawing closer and only two things were missing in most parts of central Europe: The snow and cold temperatures! Despite Livigno’s (ITA) relatively high altitude in the Alps, only approximately 3km of track could be prepared in the valley – not nearly enough for a 42km FIS Marathon Cup.

Therefore, the first competition had to be cancelled and 2011 ended without a FIS Marathon Cup, but with the beginning of 2012, things got into full swing.

Jizerská Padesatka
Even though the temperatures were not as cold as they could have been, enough snow was on the ground for the 50km Jizerská Padesatka race in classic style – and more came from above during the race, which made the conditions not the easiest one for racers, spectators and organisers alike. However, the first FIS Marathon Cup of the season 2011/12 was finally held and the athletes on the podium would be seen there many more times during the season. Surely, Stanislav Rezac (CZE) laid the foundation of his victory in the overall FIS Marathon Cup with this first place on home soil. Behind him, Jimmie Johnsson (SWE) and Joergen Aukland (NOR) completed the podium. On the women’s side it was Sara Svendsen who could gain the victory in front of Tatiana Manimaa (EST) and Jenny Hansson (SWE).

One week break and the FIS Marathon Cup really took of with no more free weekend for the following eight weeks! A hard programme for the athletes if they wanted to race each race, however, several decided to concentrate on certain races instead. The first of the eight competitions was the Dolomitenlauf (AUT), which was held, once again due to lack of snow in the valley, in Obertilliach, close to the boarder to Italy.

Perfect sunshine, relatively warm temperatures and difficult waxing conditions awaited the athletes for this first race in skating technique. As the, now shortened to 42km, track was partly running through the shade partly under the warm sun, it was really challenging to find the correct wax in order to be fast in all parts. It was the Italian Fabio Santus, who seemed to have had the best skis, however it was only a glimpse of the eye that parted him from the second Aliaksei Ivanou (BLR), who was followed by the German Tim Tscharnke, who was ordered “a fast long distance training session” by his coach and was therefore inscribed to the Dolomitenlauf. On the women’s side, it was Valentina Shevchenko (UKR) who won in front of Seraina Boner (SUI), who, at this moment, still had to fight with her back, and another Swiss, Seraina Gasparin, who missed the Mass Start at the Biathlon World Cup in Anterselva (ITA) and who therefore thought to take the opportunity to participate in a long distance race.

One week later, it was time for the traditional and famous Marcialonga in Val di Fiemme, the host of the 2013 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. Joergen Aukland (NOR), the winner of this prestigious 70km race in classic technique, showed, what is sometimes possible, even if you are still almost a minute behind the leaders after km 40!!! His brother Anders couldn’t resist his hard fighting brother in the end and finished second in front of Stanislav Rezac (CZE). On the women’s side it was the start for the first of several “Team Exspirit” podiums. Susanny Nyström (SWE) won in front of her team mates Jenny Hansson (SWE) and Seraina Boner (SUI).

One week later, at the König-Ludwig-Lauf, cold temperatures had come over Middle-Europe and also had this 50km race, which passes the famous castle Linderhof (built by the Bavarian king Ludwig II between 1869 and 1886), firmly in the hand that even the perfect sunshine did not help much to heaten up the athletes during the race. In this “Bavarian frost chamber”, it was Stanislav Rezac (CZE) who resisted not only the cold but also his adversaries, Jerry Ahrlin (SWE) and Joergen Aukland (NOR) who became second and third. For the ladies, the podium was the same as in the Marcialonga: Nyström (SWE) in front of Hansson (SWE) and Boner (SUI).

La Transjurassienne
The weekend after, it was still cold, but it was not the cold which let the racers suffer but the strong wind which made the organisers of the 76km skating race La Transjurassienne decide to cut the part into Switzerland since it was the part where the wind blew the hardest….some athletes even described skiing towards Bois d’Amont as to think that they stood still even though they knew they were moving. With a bid smile on his face and later with a big bell around his neck, it was Alikasei Ivanou (BLR) who won this, despite the strong wind, wonderful race through the French Jura Mountains in front of Sergio Bonaldi (ITA) and Martin Koukal (CZE). On the women’s side it was Valentina Shevchenko (UKR) who won in a very impressive manner the race over 54km, with over 6 minutes advantage over Stephanie Santer (ITA) and Tatiana Manimaa (EST).

Tartu Maraton
The week after, it was time to head up North, to Tartu and the 63km long Tartu Maraton, skied in classic technique. Only two weeks away from the legendary Vasaloppet – the main goal of the season for a lot of racers, it was Jörgen Brink who showed that he got in form for the big event. The Swede won in front of Daniel Richardsson (SWE), who had just come to Tartu the night before the race, after a long voyage from the Cross Country World Cup in Sklarska Poreba (POL), and Jimmie Johnsson (SWE). On the girl’s side, for the third time in this winter, it was the same Podium: Susanne Nyström (SWE) wins in front of Jenny Hansson (SWE) and Seraina Boner (SUI).

Finlandia Hiihto
Further up North, it was time for the 50km Finlandia Hiihto (classic technique), which was, very surprisingly – also for himself – won by Martin Koukal (CZE), who is more known to be a specialist in the skating technique. In an impressive finish he put the two Italians Sergio Bonaldi and Marco Cattaneo to the places two and three. On the women’s side it was Valentina Shevchenko (UKR) who showed that she is also fast in classic races. Tatiana Manimaa (EST) got second and Stephanie Santer (ITA) third.

Then, it was time for the world famous Vasaloppet. Petter Northug Jr. should have started but did not due to sickness. However, it seemed that the appearance of the sister and brother of the Duchess of Cambridge, Pippa and James Middleton, made more headlines than the actual winner of the 88th edition of this famous 90km long race in classic technique. However, it was Jörgen Brink (SWE), who could win this prestigious event – and that already for the third consecutive time and this year in a new record time!!! In an
incredible finish sprint he could claim the victory in front of Daniel Tynell (SWE) and Stanislav Rezac (CZE).

Engadin Skimarathon
Only one week later, the FIS Marathon Cup got back to central Europe for its last skating race – the Engadin Skimarathon! Great conditions made the track very fast that the organisers already thought about a new record time, but the athletes decided against. However, it was the young Swiss Roman Furger who could put himself in front of Curdin Perl (SUI), who had arrived during the night before the race, directly from the Cross Country World Cup in Oslo (NOR). Third on the podium was, after an impressive finish sprint, the Italian Cristian Zorzi. On the women’s side, it was the French World Cup racer Anouk Faivre-Pikon, who claimed the victory in front of Seraina Boner (SUI) and Natascia Leonardi Cortesi (SUI).

Hosting the final of the FIS Marathon Cup, the traditional Birkebeinerrennet with its special rule that each racer has to carry a 3.5kg backpack filled with certain things, remembering the baby Haakon Haakonsen, the future king of Norway, which was rescued by two Birkebeiner men on skis from those who wanted to kill him. This year, it was Anders Aukland (NOR) who could win this last stop of the FIS Marathon Cup, in front of two fellow countrymen: Roger Aa Djupvik and Espen Harald Bjerke.

After 10 races, three in skating technique and seven in classic style, the season 2011/12 is concluded. The winner of the overall FIS Marathon Cup on the men’s side was certain already for some time before the final, however, on the women’s side, the fight went on until the very last race. Stanislav Rezac (CZE) secured the victory on the men’s side with 405 points whereas Stephanie Santer (ITA) could claim the victory in her first FIS Marathon Cup season with 511 points!

Worldloppet: its Races and the 2011/12 Season
However, the Worldloppet winter 2011/12 did not only consist of FIS Marathon Cup races! Many of the places where a FIS Marathon Cup race took place held also other races, shorter ones or in a different technique, which belong to the Worldloppet circuit and for which Worldloppet passport holders can get a stamp in order to become a “Master” after ten fulfilled races – ten different of course and one in each continent of course! However, there are four races which do not have FIS Marathon Cup races and these are The
Kangaroo Hoppet (AUS), which takes place in August as it is winter in Australia at that time, the Gatineau Loppet in Canada which is followed by the American Birkebeiner (USA) – a race which will become a FIS Marathon Cup race next season! Last but not least, it’s the Bieg Piastow, which is, as the three others, a member of the Worldloppet circuit!

All Worldloppet races could be held in great conditions and growing numbers of participants in each race, anywhere in the world, shows the trend of the last years. Healthy living, including not only healthy food but also outdoor activities, is more popular as ever before and brings more and more people onto the skis. High numbers of older participants also show that this kind of life makes you also fit up into high age and is equally a huge motivation for others to join in in the world of marathon skiing!

2012/13 FIS Marathon Cup Calendar
– 16.12.12 – LA SGAMBEDA – 42km FT
– 13.01.13 – JIZERSKÁ PADESATKA – 50km CT
– 20.01.13 – DOLOMITENLAUF – 60km FT
– 27.01.13 – MARCIALONGA – 70km CT
– 03.02.13 – KÖNIG LUDWIG LAUF – 50km CT
– 10.02.13 – LA TRANSJURASSIENE – 76km FT
– 17.02.13 – TARTU MARATON – 63km CT
– 23.02.13 – AMERICAN BIRKEBEINER – 50km FT
– 10.03.13 – ENGADIN SKIMARATHON – 42km FT

News from Worldloppet & the World of Marathon Skiing
Not only the numbers of participants in Worldloppet races is growing but also the number of races in the world. And they all would like to become a part of Worldloppet and the world of marathon skiing. Worldloppet is of course very happy about this development, as it shows that the continuous work around the world of marathon skiing is paying off.

The following races have announced their interest: Svalbard (Spitsbergen) Marathon (NOR), Fossavatn (ISL), Marca Beret (ESP), Marca Blanka (ARG) and the Arctic Circle Race (GRL).

The executive board of the Worldloppet had come together in Rybinsk (RUS) on the occasion to visit the Demino Skimarathon (March 18), taking place on the Cross Country World Cup venue, which also has announced its wish to become a member of the Worldloppet family. The calendar for the next season was discussed and finalised for the FIS Marathon Cup. The next meeting will be the AGM (Annual General Meeting) held in Tartu (EST) in June where not only the next season but also other important steps for Worldloppet and the world of marathon skiing will be discussed and be voted for.

Exact numbers of passport holder (new & old) will be given out later this spring as many applications are still coming in April. Detailed information on the participant rates of each race and in total will be distributed at the same time.

Important Dates & Information
– Next Worldloppet race: August 25, Kangaroo Hoppet (AUS), 42km skating technique
– Worldloppet AGM: June 14-17, Tartu (EST)
More information: www.worldloppet.com
Visit also the official Worldlooppet Facebook Page HERE.

SkiTrax FIS Fantasy World Cup 2011/12 Contest Winners Announced

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March 27, 2012 (Toronto, ON) – We are excited to announce the final standings for the SkiTrax FIS Fantasy WCup 2011/12 Contest after the WCup in Falun, Sweden along with the final overall contest winnners following the Doping De-points rule.

The 2011/12 season was historic for both the U.S. and Canadian squads, with Kikkan Randall (USA) picking up the crystal globe in the women’s Sprint discipline and Team Canada taking home a boat-load of medals, led by Devon Kershaw’s second place overall in the WCup.

The winner of the SkiTrax FIS Fantasy WCup 2011/12 Contest is Team FxG, who racked up 2,260 points to grab first place and take home 1st Prize – a  Fischer package, including 11/12 Carbonlite Hole Skis, Xcelerator Bindings, Carbonlite Poles (value $1,100). The maximum number of points after Falun is 2,376.

Second Prize goes to Team JOlca2 trailing by a single point with a total of 2,259 points, receiving a fabulous pair of SkiGo Carbon 780 Roller Skis (value $580)

Third Prize went to Team Jcas from Canmore, AB who wins a pair of Alpina ESK Ski Boots (value $449).

We congratule all contest winners and would like to thank the many teams from around the world for participating in the SkiTrax Fantasy FIS World Cup 2011/12 Contest.

Thanks as well to all of our great sponsors, including Fischer, SkiGo, Alpina, Bjorn Daehlie Clothing, Sporthill, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Rottefella, Bliz, Concept 2, Auclair, and Buff.

For the complete SkiTrax FIS WCup Fantasy Contest standings after Falun, click HERE.

SkiTrax Fantasy FIS World Cup 2011/12 Contest Winners

– FxG – Felix Gervais – Laval, QC
1st PrizeFischer 11/12 Carbonlite Hole Skis, Xcelerator Bindings, Carbonlite Poles (value $1,100)

– JOlca2 – Jolanta Dudzinska – Tarnow. Poland
2nd PrizeSkiGo Carbon 780 Roller Skis (value $580)

– Team Jcas – Jordan Cascagnette – Canmore, AB
3rd PrizeAlpina ESK Ski Boots (value $449)

– Eurostile – John Swain – Saint Paul, MN
4th PrizeBjorn Daehlie Exclusive US XC Ski Suit (value $300)

– Guacamole – Ian Lennie – Ottawa, ON
5th PrizeSporthill XC Pants/Tights and Glacier Top (value $220)

– daviking – Rob Moeller – London, ON
6th PrizeFresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $150)

– Cole – Cole Hetherington – Vernon, BC
7th PrizeBliz Proflip Visor (value $129)

– Dynamo – Leberecht Lugosi – Dresden, Germany
8th PrizeRottefella Xcelerator Skate/Classic Bindings (value $120)

– SlickXC2012 – George Visser – Montreal, QC
9th PrizeConcept2 Goodie Duffle Bag (value $100)

– Christo – Christopher Carlyle – Sault Ste. Marie, ON
10th PrizeAuclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)

– Siggy’s Speedsters – Craig Cardinal – Northfield, MN
– 3LIT3 – Andrew Pfeiffer – Evanston, IL
– Sssssspandy – Andy Shields – Thunder Bay, ON
WCup BreakBuff Headware (value $23) to top 3 contest leaders before the Tour de Ski

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

Canadian Athletes Add 3 Medals to Successful Haul at IPC XC WCup Finals in Finland

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March 27, 2012 (Vuokatti, Finland) – Canada’s Para-Nordic athletes added three more medals on Tuesday to their haul at the IPC World Cup Finals, bringing their week total to seven.

Brian McKeever and his guide, Erik Carleton, completed their golden sweep of the three cross-country ski events in the men’s visually impaired category. McKeever, a 10-time Paralympic medallist, dominated the men’s 10-kilometre skate-ski race while battling through the heavy winds to clock a time of 25:43.7.

“I’m feeling better than I have all year. My shape has been building and it was a pretty solid day all-around for me,” said McKeever. “My skate skiing has been stronger this year and I put it together for the first time in a Para race.”

McKeever knocked of his Russian rivals, Stanislav Chokhlaev and Maksim Pirogov, in skate skiing for the first time this year. The Russians posted a second-place time of 26:39.3. Two other Russian skiers, Nikolay Polukhin and his guide, IIya Cherepanov, rounded out the men’s visually impaired podium in third at 26:39.9.

Canada also grabbed two bronze medals in the men’s and women’s sit-skiing races.

Chris Klebl, of Canmore, Alta., brought his season medal total to six after claiming the bronze in the men’s 10-kilometre sit-ski race with a time of 29:33.8. The 40-year-old Klebl finished one minute off the golden pace set by Russia’s Ramil Ilalutdinov at 28:33.3. Roman Petushkov, also of Russia, claimed the bronze at 28:55.0.

Saskatoon’s Colette Bourgonje rounded out the trio of medals after claiming her second straight bronze in the sit-skiing middle distance races. The reigning World Champion crossed the finish line with a time of 16:15.1 in the women’s 5km race.

Norway’s Mariann Marthinsen battled her way back to the top of the podium with a time of 15:52.2, while Lyudmyla Pavlenko, of the Ukraine, finished second at 16:02.1.

The IPC World Cup Finals continue on Thursday in Finland with the start of the Biathlon events.

Full results HERE.

BirkieGuide.com Releases 2012 Data

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March 27, 2012 – I’ve again assembled the data from the Big Race out in Wisconsin in to a bunch of nerdy-but-interesting data on BirkieGuide.com. Feel free to share it around. After a couple too many nights not getting to bed on time, I’ve finally gotten the ducks in order (I hope) and launched everything on to the statistics site. So if you are bemoaning the early spring and want to launch yourself deep in to mostly meaningless statistical “analyses” from the race, by all means, go ahead and do so.

Let us know if there’s anything else you’d like to see. I can make no guarantees — it’s time to spend my evenings doing something more productive, like training and core — but if you have an interesting idea, have at it.

A couple of highlights:
– Most of the data is back from last year, and most of it in an easier-to-navigate fashion
– We did some comparisons with last year

New data include:
– split time correlations
– a really interesting page showing that top skiers ski at a much steadier relative pace than everyone else (my favorite new data)
– information correlating weather conditions and Birkie sign-ups (it also has MSP snowfall data back to 1900)
– And a whole lot more…

You can find all of it at HERE and of course find the homepage at www.birkieguide.com.

Talkin’ With the Gravy-Train – Sprint World Cup GLOBE Winner Kikkan Randall

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March 26, 2012 (Falun, Sweden) – Following her historic crystal globe presentation in Falun, Sweden, Peter Graves caught up with the USA’s biggest XC ski sensation of the last three decades, FIS World Cup Sprint series winner Kikkan Randall. Randall reflects on her incredibly successful World Cup season in which she placed fifth overall in addition to her Sprint Cup title victory. She was finally awarded the crystal globe on Sunday, March 18, and was awed by the trophy’s sheer weight.

Randall is the first American women to win a World Cup overall title ending a 30-year drought as the last time the US won a World Cup title was when the legendary Bill Koch captured the men’s overall in 1982. But her season is not quite over yet. The shining star stayed in Scandinavia a little longer to compete in some invitational sprints such as the Red Bull Nordix and returned home this past weekend to race in the USSA SuperTour Finals and 30/50km National Championships on from March 24-31 in Craftsbury, VT…

Kikkan Randall

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup 2011/12 Contest Final Standings and Winners Announced

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March 26, 2012 (Toronto, ON) – We are pleased to announce the winners and final standings for the inaugural SkiTrax Fantasy FIS Marathon Cup 2011/12 International Contest after an exciting marathon season that wrapped up with the 54km CL Birkebeinerrennet in Norway on March 17.

Team marko16 finishes in first place with 976 points and takes home the 1st Prize – a OneWay package including Premio 10 WCup Skis, Diamond Storm Premio 10 Poles, and SNS Premio Pilot Bindings. (value $1,350). The maximum number of points after the Birkebeinerrennet is 1,092 points.

Second prize goes to Team bondin from France winning a fabulous Nipika 4-night package for 2 people in a luxurious cabin, including Trail Fees (value up to $1,160). Finally team Sampo from Minnesota won the third prize, a pair of Alpina ESK Ski Boots (value $449).

Congratulations to all winners and thank you to the many teams from around the world for participating in the inaugural SkiTrax Fantasy FIS Marathon Cup 2011/12 International Contest.

We’d also like to thanks to all of our great sponsors, including One Way, Nipika, Alpina, Halti, Fischer, Cross Country Canada, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Rottefella, Auclair, and Buff.

For the final full contest standings after the Birkebeinerrennet click HERE.

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup Winners

– marko16 – Marko Liiva – Otepaa, Estonia
1st Prize – OneWay Premio 10 WCup Skis, Diamond Storm Premio 10 Poles, SNS Premio Pilot Bindings. (value $1,350)

– bondin – Alex Moiroud – Montalieu, France
2nd Prize – Nipika 4-nights for 2 people in luxurious cabin, including Trail Fees (value up to $1,160)

– Sampo – Jonathan Rova – Grand Marais, MN
3rd Prize – Alpina ESK Ski Boots (value $449)

– demino worldloppet – Dmitry Artamonov – Moscow, Russian Federation
4th Prize -Halti XC Race Suit Hemmo Set (value $269)

– Jetlow – Justin Tetlow – Washington, DC
5th Prize –  Fischer RCS QF poles  (value $225)

– littlebig – Nadine Moiroud – Montalieu, France
6th Prize – Cross Country Canada e-Store Gift Certificate (value $200)

– Team Northug – Antoine Briand – Sept-Iles , QC
7th Prize – Fresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $150)

– rgsnow – Guillaume Ruet – Fleurie, France
8th Prize – Rottefella Xcelerator Skate/Classic Bindings (value $120)

– Alberta Gold – Darrell Goldsack – Red Deer, AB
9th Prize – Auclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)

– anty ski – Andri Milov – Pärnu Estonia
10th Prize – Buff Headware (value $40)

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).


Robbie Weldon: Flying on Two Wheels and Two Skis

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March 26, 2012 (Mont Ste-Anne, QC) – She was into every high school sport, yet she was usure which one would become her passion. The teenage Robbie Weldon was also a speed-hungry Alpine ski racer and instructor in Thunder Bay. Even as she noticed her eyesight was becoming problematic, Weldon never tried out for a team she didn’t make.

“I played First Division soccer while I was in Brantford,” said Weldon, who, by the time she was 18, was in Brantford during the summer at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), learning how to adjust to a life with macular degeneration disease.

Like her Para-Nordic teammate, Brian McKeever, who lives with the same disease and sees only peripherally, Weldon didn’t let losing her eyesight be a barrier – in fact more opportunities opened to her. She played able-bodied soccer while competing for Canada in blind power lifting, setting records in the squat, bench press and dead lift.

In 2002, she started cross-country skiing recreationally, mainly because it was healthier than Alpine skiing and brought her into the natural world she loved. By then, she had established her career as a recreational therapist, and one day in 2006 at a work meeting, a colleague gave her a copy of “Abilities Magazine.” Cyclist Brian Cowie and his tandem pilot were on the cover, blowing away the competition at 60kph. “That’s what I want to do,” said Weldon to her colleagues.

“It was so weird, because on the way to the meeting, CBC Radio was announcing that Canada’s Paralympic Team was looking for athletes. I wondered, ‘Am I too old?’” She was 31 – the ideal age for endurance sports like Nordic skiing and bike racing.

Weldon watched the Canadian Cross-Country Ski Championships that year, because her home club of Lappe Nordic was event host, but tragedy hit the next day. “My father died at the workplace. They hadn’t secured a gate, and as a millwright, he was working and fell.” The Weldon family fell into the nightmare of challenging the safety standards of a huge corporation. “He wasn’t the only one to die at that site, or have a serious injury. We live without my father because of the negligence of a corporation.” The tragedy hit hard for Weldon.

In her work as a recreation therapist, at least 70% of her clients have brain or spinal cord injuries. She teaches them how to integrate themselves into the community; relearn how to take public transit, shop for groceries, and get into sports. Many para-athletes are disabled because of workplace injuries as a result of the negligence of their employers and Weldon would soon be skiing and cycling internationally with many of them.

Weldon attended a Para-Nordic ski camp in Canmore, AB, in August of 2006 and she was instantly hooked. She headed west again in late fall for the Nor-Am’s at Soverigen Lake, BC, and Canmore, and didn’t look back as she went on to compete in World Cups, World Championships and the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. It turned out cycling would be her forte, however, and when she teamed up with former Olympian Lynne Bessette as her pilot, the sky was the limit.

In May 2010 Weldon was at the University of Calgary for physiological testing. Bessette waited in the wings, but only for an athlete who could generate the wattage necessary for world podium finishes. When Weldon cranked out the requisite watts, a winning team was born and the duo competed at the Canadian Championships in June.

“The day before the race, we rode for an hour. We won the 20km time trial and the 70km road race,” said Weldon. At the World’s that year, Weldon and Bessette were 2.7s off gold in the time trial and won the 80km road race. In Sydney, Australia, they took double gold at the World Cup and repeated the performance in Copenhagen, Denmark, at the World Championships and ParaPan Am Championships; they are the top team heading into London.

After winning two golds and a silver at the Canadian Para-Nordic Cross-Country Ski Championships, Weldon boarded a train to Montreal and then a flight to Florida to join the cycling team for a pre-Paralympic training camp. The London 2012 Summer Paralympic Games commence August 29, 2012 and the Canadian duo of Weldon and Bessette are undoubtedly the team to beat.

Norwegian Birkebeiner Success with New Atomic Technology

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March 19, 2012 (Norway) – A new course record was set this weekend at the highly prestigious Norwegian Birkebeiner. Anders Aukland of Norway skied the hilly 54km course with a winning time of 2:21:26. Norwegians swept the Men’s podium with Roger Aa Djupvik in second and Espen Harald Bjerke in third. Switzerland took first for the women’s event with Seraina Boner winning in 2:46:54 followed by Stepanie Santer of Italy in second and Jenny Hanson of Sweden in third.

The Aukland brothers, Anders and Joergen, have been extremely successful this year in Europe’s top classic Marathons. A key component of that success has been training specifically for long distance classic events. Year round, their training has been aimed at endurance over speed with an emphasis on classic.

The Aukland brothers have also learned how to take advantage of their new Atomic’s SDS technology. This was especially evident at the Birkebeiner. Anders calmly skied with the main pack on the flats and casually double poled as the other athletes had to push themselves to maintain the pace. The highly elastic inserts in the kick zone of the new Atomic Classics allow the grip wax to ride well above the snow even though the ski has a low camber height.

When the pack reached the hills toward the end of the Birkebeiner, a well rested Anders dropped the other skiers and climbed the hills with a tempo they could not match. The same inserts that keep the kick wax well above the snow during glide easily compress as soon as just a little downward force is applied during the kick. Anders and the other Atomic athletes have found that the best strategy for them is to go easy and glide with the pack in the flats and then take advantage of how the ski climbs and drop the rest of the guys in the ascents. It has continuously paid off this year at the long classic events.

The Norwegian Birkebeiner is always limited to a field of 16,000 skiers. Entries were sold out in 18 minutes this year. It is always classic only and the Birkebeiner is one of the most technical of all the Worldloppet courses. Victory here is considered the most prestigious test for classic equipment.

Results and race report HERE.

NDC-Thunder Bay Announces New Head Coach Mark Doble

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March 19, 2012 (Thunder Bay, ON) – The National Development Centre – Thunder Bay (NDC) is pleased to announce that Mark Doble will be the new Head Coach for the 2012/2013 season and beyond. Mark will be taking over from Eric Bailey, who has held the position for the past 8 years. After bringing NDC Thunder Bay to new heights of performance and consistency, Bailey sees the program evolving even more in the capable hands of Mark.

“At NDC-Thunder Bay, we have built systematically and sustainably and are now at the point where a new Head Coach can take the reins of the program and continue to deliver the highest quality program. The capacity of the program has surely risen, but at NDC, quality will always trump quantity. It is a core value of our program. Working with our other staff, our new Head Coach will continue to develop all aspects of the training and racing environment. It has been very gratifying to develop this program and its athletes over the past 8 years and I am very confident it will continue to progress and evolve to meet the needs and goals of its athletes in the years to come.”

Hailing from Barrie, ON, Doble brings a vast level of experience working with and developing the athletes and organization of Team Hardwood. An NDC-Thunder Bay alumnus, Doble expressed his excitement to return to Thunder Bay and to be a part of the city’s great ski community. “Racing and training in Thunder Bay was one of the highlights of my ski career. The support that the community has for skiing and ski racing and for the NDC program was phenomenal then and I am looking forward to being a part of it in a different role.” A natural leader with a passion for helping others excel, Mark is known for his enthusiasm and for producing some of Canada’s top junior aged skiers during his tenure with Team Hardwood. When asked what unique qualities Mark brings to the organization, Bailey stated: “Mark has an immense passion for the sport, a keen desire for excellence, and an acute knowledge of sports science. His coaching style and philosophy meshes very well with the program and the team at NDC-Thunder Bay. He will treat athletes with a great deal of respect, which has always been a cornerstone of our team philosophy at NDC-Thunder Bay.

Mark’s natural leadership abilities are evident and his commitment to high performance will serve the program and its athletes extremely well. At NDC-Thunder Bay, an important component of athletic excellence has always been to really enjoy every day and every step on the high-performance pathway. This belief is well-understood by Mark and one he will undoubtedly integrate uniquely and effectively.”

During his time at NDC, Bailey created a culture of excellence that Doble hopes to continue. “I am looking forward to working with the strong board of directors and within the community of Thunder Bay to drive this organization forward and am excited about the opportunity to work with the NDC staff and athletes to help the program continue to produce some of the best skiers in Canada.”

The organization is looking forward to their future with Mark and to helping him develop the next generation of cross country ski racers that will continue to represent Canada and Thunder Bay well into the future.

Mark will begin on April 23rd and, with Bailey, will represent NDC Thunder Bay at the National Team Selection Meetings in Canmore, Alberta.

SkiTrax FIS Fantasy WCup 2011/12 Contest Standings after Drammen

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March 09, 2012 (Toronto, ON) – We are pleased to announce the SkiTrax FIS Fantasy WCup 2011/12 Contest standings after the WCup in Drammen, Norway where USA’s Kikkan Randall made history when she clinched the women’s WCup Sprint title. Read about it HERE

It was also a decisive day for team JOlca2 who jumped into the pole position ahead of longtime leader Siggy’s Speedsters.  The race is incredibly tight, with only a one-point difference – JOlca2 has 1,553 points to Siggy’s Speedsters’ 1,552. Team FxGo has maintained third place with 1,527 points. The maximum number of points after Drammen is 1,629.

For the complete FIS WCup Fantasy Contest standings after Drammen click HERE

The next FIS WCup takes place in Oslo, Mar. 10-11.

SkiTrax Fantasy FIS World Cup 2011/12 Contest Prizes
* 1st Prize Fischer 11/12 Carbonlite Hole Skis, Xcelerator Bindings, Carbonlite Poles (value $1,100)
* 2nd PrizeSkiGo Carbon 780 Roller Skis (value $580)
* 3rd Prize
Alpina ESK Ski Boots (value $449)
* 4th Prize Bjorn Daehlie Exclusive US XC Ski Suit (value $300)
* 5th Prize Sporthill XC Pants/Tights and Glacier Top (value $220)
* 6th PrizeFresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $150)
* 7th Prize – Bliz Proflip Visor (value $129)
* 8th PrizeRottefella Xcelerator Skate/Classic Bindings (value $120)
* 9th Prize
Concept2 Goodie Duffle Bag (value $100)
* 10th PrizeAuclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
* WCup BreakBuff Headware (value $23) to top 3 contest leaders before the Tour de Ski

Thanks to all of our great sponsors, including Fischer, SkiGo, Alpina, Bjorn Daehlie Clothing, Sporthill, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Rottefella, Bliz, Concept 2, Auclair, and Buff.

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

2012 US Junior XC Ski Nationals Day 2 Freestyle Race PHOTOS

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March 09, 2012 (Midway, UT) – Check out some great photos from Day 2 of the 2012 US Junior XC Ski Nationals, where the top junior skiers contested the freestyle competitions. Find the full report HERE.

Full results for all categories HERE.

Alaska Cup standings HERE.



SkiTrax FIS Fantasy WCup 2011/12 Contest Standings after Lahti

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March 08, 2012 (Toronto, ON) – We are pleased to announce the SkiTrax FIS Fantasy WCup 2011/12 Contest standings after the WCup in Lahti, Finland. Siggy’s Speedsters is still out front with 1,496 points, while JOlca2 holds on to second place with 1,489 points. Team FxGohas overtaken daviking for third spot with 1,469 points. The maximum number of points after Lahti is 1,579.

For the complete FIS WCup Fantasy Contest standings after Lahti click HERE.

The next FIS WCup after today’s Drammen sprints take place in Oslo, Mar. 10-11. Stay tuned for the latest contest standings.

SkiTrax Fantasy FIS World Cup 2011/12 Contest Prizes
* 1st Prize Fischer 11/12 Carbonlite Hole Skis, Xcelerator Bindings, Carbonlite Poles (value $1,100)
* 2nd PrizeSkiGo Carbon 780 Roller Skis (value $580)
* 3rd Prize
Alpina ESK Ski Boots (value $449)
* 4th Prize Bjorn Daehlie Exclusive US XC Ski Suit (value $300)
* 5th Prize Sporthill XC Pants/Tights and Glacier Top (value $220)
* 6th PrizeFresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $150)
* 7th Prize – Bliz Proflip Visor (value $129)
* 8th PrizeRottefella Xcelerator Skate/Classic Bindings (value $120)
* 9th Prize
Concept2 Goodie Duffle Bag (value $100)
* 10th PrizeAuclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
* WCup BreakBuff Headware (value $23) to top 3 contest leaders before the Tour de Ski

Thanks to all of our great sponsors, including Fischer, SkiGo, Alpina, Bjorn Daehlie Clothing, Sporthill, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Rottefella, Bliz, Concept 2, Auclair, and Buff.

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

TD Bank J2 Nordic Ski Championships Come to Rumford – March 9-11

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March 06, 2012 (Rumford, ME) – Ski conditions are expected to be very good for The TD Bank J2 Nordic Ski Championships being held at Rumford’s Historic Black Mountain of Maine, from Friday, March 9 through Sunday, March 11, 2012.

Elite teams of 14-15 year-old Nordic racers from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, and elite guest teams from Colorado and Wisconsin, will arrive at Rumford’s Black Mountain of Maine Friday, March 9th for three days of intense junior Nordic ski competition.

228 Athletes are registered for this last major Nordic race of the season at Black Mountain of Maine. This event is being hosted by the New England Nordic Skiing Association (NENSA) and the Chisholm Ski Club.

“The Chisholm Ski Club is looking forward to hosting this event,” said Chief of Competition, Roger Arsenault. “This is an exciting event and it’s the first opportunity many of these top junior skiers from the Northeast have had to compete against each other. We are also very pleased to welcome the teams from Colorado and Wisconsin to Rumford.”

Arsenault continued, “The snow made for the US Cross Country Championships in January has held up very well over this very busy competition season and we have accumulated quite a bit of natural snow on top of it. We anticipate conditions will continue to be very good and the club is working to make this an outstanding event for both the competitors and the spectators.”

Arsenault also commented “The Black Mountain of Maine lodge, the tiered parking and bridge access allows both recreational Alpine skiing and Nordic competition events to take place without conflicting with each other. The lodge’s second floor and upper tier parking are always reserved for Alpine skiers on competition days.”

J2 schedule (As of Monday, March 5th. Please check HERE for most current info.)

– 9:00 am Course open for inspection
– 9:00 am Race Headquarters open for packets and bib pick-up
– 12:30 pm Coaches Meeting in Base Lodge Conference Room
– 3:00 pm Men 5 km Free Technique- seeded wave start
– 4:00 pm Women 5 km Free Technique- seeded wave start
Flower ceremony immediately following each event

– 8:00 am Course open for inspection Bib pick up in Race Headquarters
– 8:30 am Coaches meeting in lower level of the Timing Building
– 9:30 am Women 5 km Classic- seeded wave start
– 10:30 am Men Free 5 km Classic- seeded wave start
Flower ceremony immediately following each event.
– 11:30 pm Sprint course open for inspection
– 12:00 pm Stadium layout open for inspection
– 2:30 pm Women 1 km Free Technique sprint – seeded wave start
– 3:15 pm Men 1 km Free Technique sprint- seeded wave start
Flower ceremony immediately following Sprint event.
– 6:30 pm Banquet and awards held at Mountain Valley High School Gym.

Must have ticket to enter. Banquet complimentary to all athletes, Team Leader and up to 7 coaches. All others $15.00. Tickets available in Race Headquarters while they last.

– 7:30 am Course open for inspection Bib pick up in Race Headquarters
– 8:00 am Coaches meeting in Hand Timing Building
– 9:30 am Mix Medley Relay 2.2 km, 2.5 km course
Flower ceremony and awards immediately following completion of team scoring

Entered as of Sunday, March 4, the Maine J2 Team (by seed):

1. Sarah Doak, Caribou
2. Sarah Wade, Mt Blue
3. Lizzy Landry, Portland
4. Ellie Teare, Yarmouth
5. Elizabeth Martin, Freeport
6. Dana Hatton, Cape Elizabeth
7. Emma Houston, Mt Abram
8. Caitlin Teare, Yarmouth
9. India Lucas, Oxford Hills
10. Ihilia Lesnikova, Yarmouth
11. Laura Frank, Portland
12. Lucy Alexander, Harrison
13. Emma Torres, Yarmouth
14. Samantha Pierce, Merriconeag
15. Audrey Garcia, GNG
16. Hanna Renedo, Orono
17. Rachel Ingram, Winthrop
18. Jesse Saffeir, Merriconeag
19. Natalie Wicks, Marranacook
20. Julia Rand, Windham

1. Aiden Clarke, Gould Academy
2. Ryan Washington, Caribou
3. Carter Hall, Yarmouth
4. Braden Becker, Yarmouth
5. Thomas Faraday, Mt Abram
6. Marcello Duluca, Gould Academy
7. Kamran Husain, MWSC
8. Sam Alexander, Yarmouth
9. Rylee Knox, Leavitt
10. Mitch Harris, Thornton
11. Jasper Houston, Yarmouth
12. Sam Wood, Mt Ararat
13. Dustin Ramsey, Hampden Academy
14. Eli McCurdy, Merriconeag
15. Sam Pratico, Falmouth
16. Graham Roeber, Merriconeag
17. Sean Beaulieu, MDI
18. Ethan Harriman, Maranacook
19. Gabe Mahoney, Falmouth
20. Julian Pelzer, Cape Elizabeth

Maine Coaches:
– Deven Morrill, Cape Elizabeth
– Buzz Bean, Mt Abram
– Sally Bean, Mt Abram
– Kalie Dunn, NYA
– Sara Dominique, Maine Winter Sports Center
– Erin Hatton, Bowdoin
– Bob Morse, Yarmouth
– Aaron Duphily, Chevrus
– Amber Dodge, Maine Winter Sports Center
– Meagan Toussaint, Yarmouth

Event Schedule HERE.

FIS Marathon Cup News – Brink, Skofterud Victorious at 88th Vasaloppet

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March 05, 2012 – Perfect conditions made this year’s Vasaloppet the fastest ever! Jörgen Brink from Sweden, won the Vasaloppet, for the third consecutive time and broke the record by19s, which is therefore now 3:38.41! By breaking the record, Brink got himself a brand new Volkswagen! Brink finished first in a fantastic sprint, which left four skiers to wait for the photo finish to decide who gained the famous victory this year. Then it was clear, Brink was once again the number one. Behind him, Daniel Tynell (SWE), who has won the Vasaloppet twice, took second, and Stanislav Rezac (CZE) the leader of the overall FIS Marathon Cup, grabbed third place.

However, for a long time it looked as if the winner would be Joergen Aukland (NOR), who got away from the pack around 15km before the finish, but the ones left behind worked well together and caught the Norwegian soon after his attempt to break away. In the end, the younger one of the two Aukland brothers starting in the Vasaloppet today, got only 10th – 14s behind Brink.

On the women’s side, it was was a bit less spectacular at the finish. Vibeke Skofterud, who already holds several Olympic and World Championship medals with the Norwegian National Team, claimed the victory in her first ever start in the Vasaloppet. Behind her, it was a another Norwegian, who took second place: Young Laila Kveli skied a fantastic race and finished ahead of Seraina Boner of Switzerland. Early in the race, it didn’t appear to be Skofterud’s day, as the Norwegian lost one of her poles. Thinking the race was already over for her after that, she still felt good and just went for it – a move which definitely paid off. Especially as she also broke the old record time which also made her the owner of a new Volkswagen car! The new record time for the women is now at 4:08.24.

Blue sky, temperatures around -10 at the start, and only a slight breeze awaited the over 14,000 skiers who started the 90km in classic style. The most traditional and world renowned Vasaloppet not only welcomed elite athletes, but also such personalities as His Royal Highness, Frederik, Prince of Denmark and the sister and the brother of the Duchess of Cambridge, Pippa and James Middleton. Cesar Baena, who already competed for this country Venezuela in the Nordic World Ski Championships, was equally on the start and finished the race in just over 6 hours.

Rezac Still Leads Overall Men’s FIS Marathon Cup, Nyström New Women’s Leader
Stanislav Rezac (CZE) is now leading the overall FIS Marathon Cup with 405 points in front of Joergen Aukland (NOR, 282 points) and Jimmie Johnsson (SWE, 275 points).

Susanne Nyström (SWE), fifth today, still received enough points to regain the leader’s bib from Stephanie Santer (ITA), who didn’t ski the Vasaloppet. Nyström now leads the overall with 410 points ahead of team mate Jenny Hansson (SWE, 382 points) and Santer (381 points).

The next FIS Marathon Cup race will be the Engadin Skimarathon (SUI), 42km skating technique, on March 11.

Elite Results HERE.
Full Results HERE.

Comments from the Top Three

Jörgen Brink (SWE):
I felt good all the way, my plan was to get a good position and keep it. With only a few kilometers left I felt that I still had power left in my arms and the goal was to be the first on the home-stretch. It was a hard fight in the end and the more am I happy that I was able to secure the victory! Especially, as it is already my third consecutive win!! It’s absolutely fantastic!!! Sure, I prepared this race very well, but you never know what will come, therefore I am really satisfied!

Daniel Tynell (SWE):
Two years ago it felt like I was losing the first place, this year it felt like I won a second place. It feels so good to be back and I am really satisfied with my race today. It was a hard fight in the end and I am happy that I was able to gain this second place!

Stanislav Rezac (CZE):
Next year, I am going to win! :-)

Vibeke Skofterud (NOR):
It was a great feeling to win and I’m going to take it with me for sure! Well, it’s simply amazing! I lost a pole right at the beginning of the race and Jenny Hansson passed me with such a speed that I thought that the race was over for me! However, I felt very good and therefore I just tried to go for it and to enjoy the race which I did. It’s just fantastic that it then even worked out for the victory!!!

Laila Kveli (NOR):
It’s for sure one of the goals of the season to be good in the Vasaloppet and if you then really are, it’s just great! I am really happy and very satisfied with my second place! It’s just amazing! My best race so far in the FIS Marathon Cup so far this season and that in the Vasaloppet – that’s just great!

Seraina Boner (SUI):
I am really happy with my third place. The Vasaloppet is a very special race and you prepare especially for it, however, you never know if it will work as you wish. Therefore I am really satisfied with my race today. The track was very fast and I really enjoyed skiing.

More photos from the race HERE.

Employment Opportunities – Team Hardwood

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March 02, 2012 (Barrie, ON) – Team Hardwood is seeking to hire qualified cross country ski coaches to fill two available positions: Junior Development Squad Coach. Both are part-time positions with most work responsibilities on Saturdays in the fall and winter seasons. Read on for all of the posting details. Coaches are based at the Hardwood Ski and Bike full-service cross country ski and mountain bike centre located near Barrie, Ontario.

Junior Development Coach
Team Hardwood is seeking to hire a cross country ski coach to lead our Junior Development Squad, one of the largest and most successful Midget racing teams in Ontario. This is a part-time position, with the majority of work being done on Saturdays in the fall and winter. The Junior Development Squad coach will also work closely with the coach of our Senior Development Squad. The ideal candidate will have at least NCCP Level I coaching certification or equivalent experience.

The Junior Development Squad coach will have the opportunity to be involved in one of the top racing clubs in Canada, one that routinely places athletes on the Ontario Ski Team and in National Training Centres, and consistently ranks in the top ten at Nationals. The entire team (including the Junior and Senior Development Squads and Masters) comprises nearly 60 athletes and is supported by dozens of enthusiastic and committed parent volunteers.

The successful candidate will work out of Hardwood Ski and Bike, a full service cross country ski and mountain bike centre located near Barrie, Ontario. The position also offers an opportunity to be mentored by the Senior Development Squad coach, as well as Jack Sasseville (former national team coach); and Petr Jakl (Head Coach, Southern Ontario Training Centre).

The Junior Development Squad coach is accountable for all aspects the delivery and growth of the Junior Development Squad, which is aimed at athletes in the Learning-to-Train stage of development, with the goal of preparing them for graduation to our Senior Development Squad. In particular, the coach will be responsible for:

– conducting Saturday training sessions from September to March;
– coaching and waxing support at local races and some O-Cup races;
– helping the Senior Development Squad coach to organize and deliver the SOD High Performance Training Camp in late August, and
– assisting with team fundraising, marketing and recruitment initiatives.

The Junior Development Squad coach reports to the Board of Directors of the Hardwood Hills Nordic Development Centre (HHNDC), aka Team Hardwood, an incorporated non-profit organization.

Salary Range: Dependent on qualifications and experience

Type of Position: Part Time – Seasonal

View more details for Team Hardwood Junior Development Coach HERE.

Senior Development Coach
Team Hardwood is seeking to hire a cross country ski coach with the skills, experience, leadership qualities, and passion needed to lead our Senior Development Squad, one of the most successful junior racing teams in Canada. This is a part-time position, with the majority of work being done on weekends in the fall and winter. The ideal candidate will have at least NCCP Level II coaching certification, or equivalent experience. The Senior Development Squad coach will work closely with the coach of our Junior Development Squad.

Coaching at Hardwood offers the opportunity to lead one of the top racing clubs in Canada, one that routinely places athletes on the Ontario Ski Team, in National Training Centres, and consistently ranks in the top ten at Nationals. The entire team (including the Junior Development Squad and Masters) comprises nearly 60 athletes and is supported by dozens of enthusiastic and committed parent volunteers.

The successful candidate will work out of Hardwood Ski and Bike, a full service cross country ski and mountain bike centre located near Barrie, Ontario. The position also offers an opportunity to be mentored by two senior coaches who are also on site: Jack Sasseville (former national team coach); and Petr Jakl (Head Coach, Southern Ontario Training Centre).

The Senior Development Squad coach is accountable for all aspects of the delivery and growth of the club’s racing programs, which are aimed at athletes in the Learning-to-Train to Learning-to-Compete stages of development, with the goal of preparing them for success in provincial, national and international competition. In particular, the coach will be responsible for:

– the design and delivery of annual and seasonal training plans,
– conducting weekend training sessions,
– conducting training and testing camps,
– coaching and waxing support at Ontario Cups, World Junior Trials and Ski Nationals races,
– organizing and running the SOD High Performance Training Camp in late August,
– co-ordinating team fundraising, marketing and recruitment initiatives,
– mentoring the Junior Development Squad coach and leading parent volunteers, and
– ensuring that team equipment and waxing supplies are properly maintained.

The Senior Development Squad coach reports to the Board of Directors of the Hardwood Hills Nordic Development Centre (HHNDC), aka Team Hardwood, an incorporated non-profit organization.

Salary Range: Dependent on qualifications and experience
Type of Position: Part Time – Employee

View more details for Team Hardwood Senior Development Coach HERE.

Contact Information:
Jack Sasseville
Team Hardwood
402 Old Barrie Rd.
Oro , ON
L0L 2E0
E-mail: jack@hardwoodskiandbike.ca
Tel. 800-387-3775

FIS Marathon Cup News: Finlandia Hiihto 50k Classic – Koukal and Shevchenko Win

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March 01, 2012 – (Lahti, Finland) – Normally, the skating technique is his favourite one and he would never declare himself a classic specialist, however, it was in a classic style race, that he won his first FIS Marathon Cup: Martin Koukal (CZE), World Champion from 2003 over 50km skating, crowned himself winner of the Finlandia Hiihto which is also 50km long but is skied in classic technique. The two Italians Sergio Bonaldi, who had already been second in the skating race La Transjurassienne two weeks ago, and Marco Cattaneo, placed second and third, battling had in order to leave their team mate Florian Kostner on the fourth spot.

The big favourite of today’s race, the leader of the FIS Marathon Cup, Stanislav Rezac, like Koukal from the Czech Republic, couldn’t place better than fifth. Like at the Dolomitenlauf or at La Transjurassienne, Team Skinfit Racing took its chances in the absence of the Norwegian and Swedish classic specialists and secured the top podium place in both races: With Koukal on the men’s side and with Valentina Shevchenko (UKR) on the women’s one! The Ukrainian once again knew only one thing: that she was skiing lightning-quick! She left Tatiana Manimaa (EST) and Stephanie Santer (ITA) to get second and third. Once again, the very hilly terrain of the Finlandia Hiihto helped Shevchenko to play her card, pushing hard on the uphills but enjoying racing at the same time.

With temperatures hovering around -3°C during the race, only a light breeze and no snowfall, made for perfect conditions. Over 3,000 racers took to the start in Lahti this morning, ready to explore the track to Hollola and back to Lahti.

Rezac Continues to Lead overall FIS Marathon Cup, Santer is New Women’s Leader
No changes in the men’s ranking of the overall FIS Marathon Cup: Stanislav Rezac (CZE) leads now with 345 points in front of Joergen Aukland (NOR, 256 points) and Jimmie Johnsson (SWE, 235 points). On the women’s side the leader bib goes back to Stephanie Santer (ITA) who leads now with 381 points in front of Susanne Nyström (SWE, 365 points) and Jenny Hansson (SWE, 332 points).

Elite Results HERE.
Full results HERE.

The next FIS Marathon Cup race will be the Vasaloppet (SWE), 90km classic, on March 4.

Comments from the top three:

Martin Koukal (CZE):
It’s amazing! My first FIS Marathon Cup victory and it’s in classic technique! In the beginning of the season, I had a lot of self confidence but I got back to earth right after the first couple of races and changed my goals for the season. So I am more than satisfied now with this result. I had great skis throughout the whole race, but especially in the end.

We spent almost a week here after the Tartu Maraton and I got to know almost the whole track of the Finlandia, therefore I knew that it would be possible to go without wax and do just double polling. The last kilometres were a fight, the last steep uphills were very painful, but I knew that I had to survive these kilometres if I wanted to be in front for the finish. It worked all fine and I could even choose the line for the finish when we came to down into the stadium. I will now rest a bit at home and prepare the Engadin Marathon. It doesn’t look too bad for me now in the overall FIS Marathon Cup, so that’s the focus now for me for the rest of the season!

Sergio Bonaldi (ITA):
I am very happy with my second place! A top 6 position today would have been great so I am even more satisfied with this podium! I didn’t have any wax so I was double polling the whole way which was a good decision I think. We were five guys in the last kilometres but suddenly there was a Finnish athlete coming to us, so we were six for three podium places. I tried to get in front before we came into the stadium in order to fight for the first spots. This worked out fine and I could finish second!

Marco Cattaneo (ITA):
I had hoped for the podium today, that’s for sure! I didn’t have a great season so far and this podium is really a satisfaction for me! We were five guys who went together but were caught by the following ones for several times before we could really go during the last kilometres. I hoped for the finish sprint and I am really happy that I could secure the third place.

Valentina Shevchenko (UKR):
I am really satisfied and happy. I had perfect skis – a big thank you to my service man!!! I only had one tactic and that was “just go”! I didn’t see any other of the girls but I got the info from our service crew how much of a gap it was between me and them so I could control the race very well. I really liked the track…it’s pretty hilly and that’s what’s good for me. Mostly I went with some other men, but also alone some time. This victory and my place in the overall FIS Marathon Cup is very important for me and the team this year. I won’t go to the Vasaloppet but will prepare the Engadin Marathon and hope to play a role again there.

Tatiana Manimaa (EST):
I knew from the beginning, that Valentina will be the winner today. However, I tried to give my best and I am very happy that I could finish second! I had great skis and I really enjoyed racing today. I will now go back home to ski a 38km race tomorrow in Estonia. It was my first time to race the Finlandia today and I really liked it so I think it won’t have been the last!

Stephanie Santer (ITA):
I am satisfied with the third place – but even more, to have the leader bib of the overall FIS Marathon Cup back! Valentina just took off right away and I only saw her once again at around 10km. I didn’t see Tatiana so I was just focusing on myself, skiing along with elderly Finnish men, which was pretty funny as the were really racing for some two kilometres, but were then suddenly “stopping” before taking off again. So I went kind of from group to group until the finish. I am happy to have been able to secure the podium.

Let’s see which race is next… but normally I plan to skip the Vasaloppet and race again in the Engadin

Photos from the race HERE.

More information on the race HERE.

American Birkie Comments from Elliott, Brooks, Liebsch and Gregg + PHOTOS

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February 29, 2012 – SkiTrax caught up with the top men’s and women’s finishers after the biggest XC ski marathon in the U.S. – the American Birkebeiner in Cable, WI. Read race recaps from 50k FR winners Tad Elliott and Holly Brooks, as well as comments from runners-up Matt Liebsch and Caitlin Gregg.

Full results HERE.

Tad Elliott – 50km FR Men’s Winner
I was looking for a marathon to participate in on the weekend when the World Cup took a break and noticed that the American Birkie was the same weekend. It has been a dream of mine to win the Birkie but I was a little nervous about the travel back and forth from Europe. I asked my Dad what he thought and he was nervous about the travel as well saying it might be best to stay in Europe.

I asked my Mom what she thought about the travel and the Birkie. She got really excited and said that I should do it and make it happen. She raced the Kortelopet a few years ago and loved the atmosphere and racing in Wisconsin. Right then I knew I would be making the travel to WI.

I emailed Salomon asking if they could help me out getting to the Birkie and taking care of me while I was there. They booked my ticket, hotel room, entrance, and made sure I had transportation. The Salomon staff are my friends and also my support staff. Without the help of Bill Sterling, Josh Korn, Andy Gerlach, and Pete Zeller, I would not have been able to do as well as I did.

Zach Caldwell even came out to wax my skis for the race. He chooses all of my skis with Salomon and puts race grinds on them. The amount of testing and work he put into my skis for the Birkie was amazing. Without Zach, my results would not have been what they were. The overall support was absolutely incredible. I felt like it was a team effort for me to win, a lot of people worked very hard so I could have this opportunity. My dream came true.

The race itself was awesome. Huge thanks to the groomers who made the course a blast to ski on after all of the new snow. At the start, my track came together with another track and Morten Petterson and I were going to get pretty well acquainted – he slowed and let me in – classy guy. We laughed and the race was on.

My skis felt a little slow at first in the new cold snow. Once I hit “OO” [about the 1/2 way point] where Zach had tested my skis at 5 a.m. they sped up significantly. I could tell that had the best skis in the field – right when I needed them. A French skier and Nish [Graham Nishikawa] were off the front with a 1:07 lead at one point. I was stressed that we would not be able to bring it back. Matt Liebsch kept me in line and said that together we could bring it back, but not before 33km. True to his word, at 33km Matt and I worked together to bring them back.

After that, the paced slowed a little and I attacked with 11km to go and was able to get a gap alone. From then on I was committed to the finish. Across the lake, I kept looking back thinking that I would be caught with only 500 meters left in the race. Once I hit the wiskers in the finishing lanes and looked back, I knew I had won.

I celebrated pretty hard and was extremely happy. It was the perfect day for me. I was so pumped and I’m still stoked. At the finish I borrowed a stranger’s phone to call my parents. I don’t think I’ve heard my mom that excited in a while. She was really pleased.

The best moment of the day for me though was sharing the podium with two other Americans who are also my friends. I have stayed at both of their houses in the last month while training and racing. Just a rad experience all around.


Holly Brooks – 50km FR Women’s Winner
Today was awesome – I really couldn’t have wished for a better day. Just last week I remember hearing the race was “on the rocks” and amazingly, the conditions today were PERFECT. The temperature, the snow, the grooming. Heck, the sunshine even came out for the race finish – and of course the great spectators!

As for the race itself, there was a large group of women that skied together until “OO” – myself, Caitlin [Gregg], Nicole Deyong, Rebecca Dussault, and a Russian skier were taking turns at the front. Shortly thereafter I was taking a feed and Caitlin made a decisive move, weaving through skiers from the men’s elite wave.

I wanted to finish my GU so she lost me for a bit and I had to work to reel her back in. In the process, we gapped the rest of the girls. When I realized that we had a lead on the others, I told her and said that we should work together to make sure they didn’t catch us.  So we traded leads, pulling each other towards Hayward. It was a blast skiing the race with Caitlin – she’s a good friend and a great skater. Now we’ve each won the Birkie once!

I was leading off the lake and made the 90 degree corner onto Main Street… I had been in this situation before in 2009, only to be caught by Rebecca D at the line (2nd by an inch!). This year, I definitely had a flashback to the race three years ago, and I was determined to NOT lose the sprint!

I took the sprint by a hair but made sure to not “pull a Morilov” and celebrate before fully crossing the finish line!  Funny thing was that both my husband Rob, and Caitlin’s husband Brian, were waiting at the finish line to see who’s wife would win! Brian had a great race as well, landing third on the podium – a good day for the Gregg family!

All in all, I’m really glad that I made the trip out here to race the Birkie and I’m ecstatic that I can “check this off the list” after three years of jokes about my boot being too small or the fact that I shouldn’t have clipped my toenails that day!

Check out the Anchorage Daily News for a great story on the race.


Matt Liebsch – 50km FR Second
This was an amazing Birkie and I was so happy that I got to be on the podium with two of my best training partners and friends. There was great depth and it was a very competitive field this year at the Birkie.

I broke a pole this time at a very in-opportune time in the race. I knew we were getting to the point where moves were going to be made. Tad [Elliott] went off the front followed by Brian Gregg. I tried to get into the 3rd spot and put my pole between Lars [Flora] and myself and we both fell. Santiago Ocariz saw what happened and took his pole off and gave it to me. With that I was able to get back into the race.

The Birkie course was wonderful and it’s always a race where I strive to have one of my best results in. I want to thank all the volunteers, board members and people who work so hard to make this an amazing event. This year’s Birkie will be one of my most memorable!


Caitlin Gregg – 50km FR Second (defending champ)
The Birkie race was fantastic! It was a great way for me to test my fitness. The pace in the women’s race was very very slow for the first 30km. I was feeling great and only a few of the ladies were taking turns at the front so I decided to make a run for it. Holly [Brooks] was the only skier that followed and soon we were a few minutes off the front.

Holly and I worked together and maintained our gap until Main Street. The final sprint was awesome and we both skied our heart’s out. In the end Holly got me by 0.4 of a second. It was very close but also a ton of fun! Holly has been racing very well on the World Cup circuit and it was great to be able to ski with her so much during the race.

After the race I realized I had four bridesmaids in the Birkie this year and two were on the podium! The whole weekend of events was incredible and I am so happy that I get to share the Birkie experience with so many family members and close friends!

One Way and French Ski Federation Extend Partnership Through 2018

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February 28, 2012 – The Finnish Nordic Sports brand ONE WAY and the French Ski Federation (FFS) began their successful cooperation for the exclusive supply of textiles and footwear for the Nordic Ski Teams two years ago. The new designs and technical wear for the team have created a lot of attention for the French Nordic Teams.

Due to the successful and good cooperation, both parties agreed to extend the cooperation in a long term contract until 2018.

ONE WAY will enlarge their development in supporting the French Nordic Ski Team with the newest standard and innovations for racing apparel and footwear.

The French Nordic team is today one of the most successful ski nation with the leader in the IBU Biathlon WC Martin Fourcade, the leader in the Nordic Combined WC Lamy Chapuis and many other athletes in the top ten rankings for all Nordic disciplines.

The French national team with their athletes will be core program of the ONE WAY marketing program.

We are proud being partner of one of the most successful and exciting Nordic Ski Team in the World.

Canada’s Comeau and Richards Score Top-20 Results in Junior Worlds Skiathlon

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February 24, 2012 (Erzurum, Turkey) – Canada’s Anne-Marie Comeau and Geoffrey Richards posted impressive top-20 results in their respective skiathlon races at the Junior World Championships in Erzurum, Turkey on Friday. In the women’s 5km classic + 5km freestyle event, Comeau skied solidly in both techniques – 21st in classic, 20th in freestyle – and had one of the fastest transitions (6th) in the competition, eventually finishing in 18th. Comeau’s performance is all the more impressive in that she is one of the youngest competitors at the these championships.

The women’s skiathlon event was won by Slovenia’s Nika Razinger. Canada’s Dahria Beatty also had a good result finishing 23rd. Teammates Emilie Stewart-Jones and Janelle Greer placed 41st and 47th respectively.

Americans Mary O’Connell and Corey Stock finished in 42nd and 43rd, respectively, followed by Emily Hannah in 51st. Stephanie Kirk was a DNF.

In the men’s 10km + 10km event, Richards shook off a weak classic leg (42nd), and after a quick transition, powered his way up into 20th position overall after skiing the 14th fastest skate leg. The USA also fielded a number of competitors in today’s skiathlon events with Logan Hanneman posting a solid 23rd result. Today’s men’s race was won by Russia’s multi-medalist Sergey Ustiugov.

Also racing today was Canada’s Alexis Turgeon in 31st while Knute Johnsgaard was 49th. For the USA Michael Vigers finished in 54th, followed by Will Wicherski (57th) and Forrest Mahlen (72nd).

Women’s skiathlon results HERE.
Men’s skiathlon results HERE.

Jessie Diggins Update: Some Ups and Downs, But Mostly Ups

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February 24, 2012 (Erzurum, Turkey) – XC ski fans have been wondering why young phenom Jessie Diggins has not been listed in the results at the U23 World Championships in Turkey. Unfortunately, the medal hopeful picked up a bug during her travels and was forced to sit out some races at the big events. She hopes to be well and on form for tomorrow’s 7.5k C/7.5k F Skiathlon event. We join the ski community in wishing Jessie a speedy recovery and good luck for the rest of her season. Continue reading for Jessie’s latest blog update.

Here’s a little update on what’s going on – there’s definitely been some awesome times in Poland, and some rough travel getting to Turkey!

Poland was really fun – the fans there were nuts over Kowalczyk, and were singing and hiking around the course to cover all the tough hills, which was super cool. Sprint day saw some gutsy racing by Kikkan and Devon – Kikkan fell in the final, but charged ahead, made up lost ground and still placed 3rd! Devon won the men’s race, blasting by a Russian who had started to celebrate, thinking he’d won. Lesson of the day? Nothing is ever set in stone.

The sprint was okay for me – I qualified well in 12th place but my body felt super tired in the heats and I didn’t ski the final corner well, getting boxed in and losing my momentum. Sadly, that was the last skate sprint of the year, so I’ll have to wait a while before trying it again, but this year I feel like I learned so much! Every single race has been a different experience and chance to figure out a way to get faster on the World Cup.

I didn’t race the 10km classic the next day, opting to cheer instead since the day after I’d be traveling all day to Turkey and didn’t want to get super tired out right before U23′s. So Chandra and I cheered as Kikkan placed 8th and Ida skied into her first distance points with a 26th place!

That was really cool to see, and the next day some of our athletes entered the World Uphill competition, which isn’t a World Cup event but is super tough; 4km up and 4km down on a super sketchy downhill (so I’m told – I never got to see the course, and our athletes didn’t get to preview it either!) Liz got 3rd, Chandra placed 9th, Tad got 6th and Newell finished 12th. Amazing efforts all round!

So now you’re probably wondering what the “downs” are about, after Poland was clearly super inspiring with North America kicking butt right and left. Here it is: I made it to Turkey, but not all in one piece… I started getting sick on the flight over, which was pretty much the one thing I was scared of. I was super dizzy and couldn’t even walk straight down the plane aisle, and you don’t want any more details than that.

But 24 hours later I started to feel better and I went outside for the first time today. And Turkey is absolutely beautiful! Our hotel is very nice and is right at the bottom of a mountain, so I’ve been watching alpine skiers fly through powder (and crash) while recovering.

And while I’m super bummed at not being able to race the sprint (and most likely having to sit out the 10km classic as well), since I was really gunning for a medal this year… this stuff happens! Travel, getting sick and moving on with it is just a part of life as an athlete. And though it sucks, there’s nothing I can do except get better and hope to race by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to getting to know the rest of the team, and once I get a chance to get to the venue I’ll definitely put up pictures!

Talkin’ with the Gravy-Train – Matt Liebsch Interview

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February 23, 2012 – This week on Talkin’ with the Gravy-Train, Peter Graves catches up with 28-year-old American skier Matt Liebsch of Orono, MN, who won Tour De Twin Cities and the Boulder MT Tour this season. Liebsch races for Team Strong Heart/Team Birkie and is also the Director of Race Services at Gear West Ski and Run in Long Lake, MN. His palmares include a win at his favourite race, the American Birkebeiner, in 2009. He’s stoked and primed for the 39th edition of the race coming up this weekend. Listen what he has to say about the historic event.

Matt Liebsch Interview

Canada’s Beatty and Greer Crack Top 30 in Junior Worlds 5km Classic Race

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February 22, 2012 (Erzurum, Turkey) – Canada’s Dahria Beatty and Janelle Greer, both of Whitehorse, cracked the top 30 in Wednesday’s women’s 5km classic race at the Junior World Championships in Erzurum, Turkey. Beatty finished the race in 25th and just over a minute back of the winner, Russia’s Natalia Zhukova. Greer was close behind Beatty in 28th. Also racing for Canada were Anne-Marie Comeau (39th) and Emilie Stewart-Jones (42).

The USA contingent consisted of three skiers in this morning’s race including Corey Stock (40th), Mary O’Connell (54th), and Stephanie Kirk (61st). Emily Hannah did not start.

In the men’s race, which was won by Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov, Canada’s Alexis Turgeon posted the top North American result finishing in 33rd place, followed closely by the USA’s Logan Hanneman in 35th. Also suiting up for the USA were Will Wicherski (61st), Michael Vigers (68th), and Cole Morgan (78th).

Canada’s Geoffrey Richards (41st) and Knute Johnsgaard (73rd) also raced today.

Full women’s results HERE.
Full men’s results HERE.

West Yellowstone 33rd Annual Rendezvous Race / Youth Ski Festival – Mar. 3-4

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February 22, 2012 (West Yellowstone, MT) – Snow is falling in West Yellowstone, Montana, and skiers of all ages are invited to participate in the 33rd annual Yellowstone Rendezvous Race on March 3, 2012. Race organizers have been busy marking the course and making final preparations for the event. The skiing has been great all winter.

Part of the American Ski Marathon Series, the Yellowstone Rendezvous Race is a cornerstone of cross-country skiing in West Yellowstone. Join hundreds of ski enthusiasts in this historic race. This year the race is proud to once again have Yellowstone National Park Lodges as its corporate sponsor. There are six different race divisions offered for skiers of all ages. Marathoners can enter the 50 kilometer freestyle race, which consists of two laps around the perimeter of the Rendezvous Ski Trail system. Racers can enter the 25 kilometer classic or freestyle events, and the 10 kilometer race is a great choice for those preferring a shorter distance. The 5k and 2k races are geared for kids.

Register before February 27th to save on entry. Race registration deadline is Thursday March 1st at 12 noon. Please visit www.rendezvousrace.com for more information, and find us on facebook for the latest updates on the race.

On Sunday, March 4th, the West Yellowstone Ski Education Foundation will host their annual Youth Ski Festival where kids 13 and under can participate in a variety of ski games including relays, musical chairs and more! Bring the family and experience winter this year. Day-of registration. Please visit www.rendezvousskitrials.com for more information.

Madison SuperTour Results, Photos, Videos – Bender and Furror Win Free Sprints

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February 21, 2012 (Madison, WI) – Last weekend, CXC hosted the USSA SuperTour in Madison, WI, as part of the Madison Winter Festival. Saturday saw some of the top U.S. skiers contest a Classic Sprint competition, while Sunday was all about the USSA SuperTour Free Sprints. Natalia Naryshkina (CXC) and Jari Joutsen cleaned up in the women’s and men’s classic competition, while Sunday saw Jennie Bender (CXC) and Philip Furrer take top honours in the freestyle sprints on a 1km course under sunny skies.


Video streaming by Ustream


Video streaming by Ustream


Qualifier results HERE.
Women’s Classic heat results HERE.
Men’s Classic heat results HERE.

Qualifier results HERE.
Heat results HERE.
Final results HERE.

More photos HERE.

Canada’s Greer Leads North Americans w/Top 30 in FR Sprints at Junior Worlds in Turkey

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February 21, 2012 (Erzurum, Turkey) – The 2012  Junior/U23 World Championships kicked off in Erzurum, Turkey on Monday with freestyle sprints for the Juniors. Canada’s Janelle Greer of Whitehorse, YK, led a youthful contingent of North Americans, finishing 28th in the women’s skate-sprint event. After finishing 26th in the qualification run, Greer was eliminated in her quarterfinal heat.

No other Canadian or American athletes qualified for the heats. This was Greer’s third trip to the Junior Worlds as Sweden’s Stina Nilsson won the women’s sprint.

Also representing Canada in the women’s event were Dahria Beatty (48th), Emilie Stewart-Jones (55th), and Anne-Marie Comeau (57th), all of whom are among the youngest competitors in the race.

Canada’s Alexis Turgeon narrowly missed qualifying in the men’s sprint placing 33rd in qualification. Teammates Knute Johnsgaard and Geoffrey Richards were 51st and 52nd respectively. Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov won the men’s gold.

“We are a very young team and there is a huge learning curve for these athletes,” said national team coach, Eric de Nys, in team release. “These athletes are skiing at altitude for the first time, which is a whole new experience. These are the best athletes in Canada for their age, and for some it is the first time they’re racing against the top athletes in the world, so they also learn it is time to get their work boots on.”

Eight American athletes also competed in the Monday’s junior sprints, although none qualified for the heats. Competing in the women’s event were Corey Stock (41st), Emily Hannah (49), Stephanie Kirk (51st) and Mary O’Connel (58th). Reese Hanneman narrowly missed the heats, qualifying in 34th position, followed by teammates Cole Morgan (35th), Will Wicherski (72nd) and Forrest Mahlen (87th).

Women’s Qualifications HERE.
Men’s Qualifications HERE.
Women’s final results HERE.
Men’s final results HERE.

Classic Focus at American Birkie Demo

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February 21, 2012 (Cable, WI) – There has been a worldwide surge in classic racing the last two years.  Major marathons, such as the American Birkebeiner, used to focus on skating with classic receiving a secondary status.  That status is undergoing a major change at Marathons throughout the world.  Skiers are discovering the joy of classic and Marathons with both techniques are witnessing parity in numbers.  The end result of this growth is that manufacturers are putting extensive R & D into classic gear at an unprecedented level.  Arrive at the Telemark Lodge in Cable, Wisconsin this Friday, February 24, and you will have the opportunity to test some major innovations in classic gear.

The most innovative classic product you will get to test is Atomic’s new Worldcup Classic SDS. With the help of the Aukland brothers from Norway and Denise Herrmann of Germany, Atomic’s new classic ski has taken Gold, Silver and Bronze at the primary Marathons this year such as the Konig Ludwig in Germany and the Marcialonga in Italy.  The new technology has a highly elastic ABS insert in the kick zone combined with high rebound graphite laminates. The low-camber kick zone rides well above the snow during glide, but it takes only a little pressure and the kick zone easily comes down for fantastic grip.  Try it on some of Telemark’s famous World Cup trails and you will be taken aback by how fast the ski glides while still providing grip for unequaled climbing.

Atomic has also been highly innovative with its new Worldcup Classic boot.  Nordic race boots may not have the hard outer shell of an alpine boot, but they still have an actual outer shell and inner liner.  Atomic’s new WC Classic boot is unique in that the lacing connects to the outer shell for excellent closure around the foot.

Worldloppet and World Cup athletes have been extremely pleased with the new lacing system.  They have instantly switched to the new boots even when they have received them just days before a major race.  Atomic likes to point out that their boots have won more Olympic and World Championship medals for the US Ski Team than all other brands combined.

Fischer Sports Sponsors Vegard Ulvang’s Participation at the 39th American Birkebeiner

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February 20, 2012 (Auburn, NH) – Fischer Sports, the world’s leading cross country ski manufacturer, today announced it is sponsoring six-time Norwegian Olympic medalist Vegard Ulvang’s participation at the 39th American Birkebeiner. Ulvang, who raced on Fischer skis throughout his exceptionally successful career, will serve as Research Ambassador for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society at the Birkie to support fundraising for the organization. Skiers will have the opportunity to meet and ski with Ulvang throughout the three-day event taking place in Hayward, Wis., February 23-25.

“From his race-winning legacy to his leading role today with the International Ski Federation’s cross-country committee, Vegard brings a wealth of experience and passion to Birkie participants and the public alike,” said Peter Ashley, vice president of the Fischer Sports U.S. Nordic Division. “We are excited to support Vegard’s special participation and fundraising efforts at North America’s most popular cross country skiing event.”

Ulvang will be available to skiers and the public through numerous appearances. Highlights include a Fischer poster signing event at the Birkie Expo on Friday, Feb. 24, from 10-11 a.m.; the Birkie Torch Lighting; the Worldloppet breakfast; an appearance at New Moon Ski & Bike; and the Birkie 50K skate race. Ulvang will also host a live presentation titled, “800 Miles to the South Pole … on Skis,” during which he will provide a first-hand account of his recent expedition celebrating the centennial of Amundson’s South Pole expedition in 1911. A complete listing of Ulvang’s appearances is available online HERE.

The Birkie’s popular Ski for the Cure pin will once again be available for $20 at the expo and online at www.wisMS.org. Those wearing the pin on their Birkebeiner or Kortelopet race bib when crossing the finish line will be eligible to win randomly selected prizes, including a pair of Fischer skis autographed by Ulvang.

Vegard Ulvang has a long history of winning on Fischer skis, including three Olympic gold medals at the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, as well as silver and bronze medals at the 1988 and 1994 games. He won the Holmenkollen 50K in 1989, 1991 and 1992, and the World Cup in 1990. Since 2006, Ulvang has served as executive director of the International Ski Federation’s cross-country committee.

The Birkie is North America’s largest cross country ski marathon, with more than 11,000 participants across its events. This year’s fundraising will once again be led by Skiers for Cures in support of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Last year the program raised more than $62,000 for the same organization, bringing the total three-year Skiers for Cures donation to the cause to more than $220,000.


FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup 2011/12 Contest Standings after La Transjurassienne

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February 20, 2012 (Toronto, ON) – We are pleased to announce the standings for the SkiTrax Fantasy FIS Marathon Cup 2011/12 International Contest after the the 76km FT La Transjurassienne in France. The inaugural FIS Marathon Cup contest is proving to be exciting, with leads swapping weekly and no clear leader pulling away. It’s still anyone’s competition! Team legrandbo has assumed the lead with 428 points and is followed by anty ski in second with 418 points. Team Broken Poles is in third place with 399 points. Note the maximum number of available points after La Transjurassienne is 571.

View the full contest standings after La Transjurassienne HERE.

Stay tuned for contest standings after the next event on the FIS Marathon Cup calendar, the 63km Tartu Maraton in Estonia, held this past weekend. And note you may be eligible for bonus points from the Gatineau Loppet held this weekend as well.

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup Prizes

* 1st Prize OneWay Premio 10 WCup Skis, Diamond Storm Premio 10 Poles, SNS Premio Pilot Bindings. (value $1,350)
* 2nd PrizeNipika 4-nights for 2 people in luxurious cabin, including Trail Fees (value up to $1,160)
* 3rd Prize
Alpina ESK Ski Boots (value $449)
* 4th Prize Halti XC Race Suit Hemmo Set (value $269)
* 5th Prize  Fischer RCS QF poles  (value $225)
* 6th PrizeCross Country Canada e-Store Gift Certificate (value $200)
* 7th PrizeFresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $150)
* 8th PrizeRottefella Xcelerator Skate/Classic Bindings (value $120)
* 9th PrizeAuclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
* 10th PrizeBuff Headware (value $40)

Thanks to all of our great sponsors, including One Way, Nipika, Alpina, Halti, Fischer, Cross Country Canada, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Rottefella, Auclair, and Buff.

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

Steamboat’s Sven Wiik Celebrates 91st Birthday – Open House Feb. 26

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February 16, 2012 (Steamboat Springs, CO) – Sven Wiik, a pioneer of “Ski Town USA’s” booming Nordic skiing scene, recently celebrated his 91st birthday and will mark the occasion with an open house at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center on Feb. 26.

Wiik immigrated to the US from Sweden in 1949 and went on to become the USST’s Olympic Nordic Coach. He and his family later built a Scandinavian Lodge, then called the Mount Werner Training Center, now named the Steamboat Ski Touring Center. The center is home to the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (SSWSC), which has developed many Olympic skiers over its long history, including Vancouver 2010 Nordic Combined medalists Todd Lodwick and Johnny Spillane, who trained with the club in their youth. Steamboat has sent more skiers to the US Ski Team than any place else in the country and seventy-nine Olympians have accounted for 135 Olympic appearances

In 2003, Spillane won Nordic-combined 7.5km gold in Val di Fiemme, Italy, becoming the first American athlete to win a gold medal at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. In 2009 at the Nordic Worlds in Liberec, CZE, Lodwick won two NC golds. Then at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games, Spillane won the U.S.A.’s first Olympic NC medal, winning silver in the individual 10K/Normal Hill missing out on the gold medal by 4/100ths of a second, the closest margin in Olympic history in that event. Lodwick, Spillane, Billy Demong and Brett Camerota won their first Olympic team medal, a silver. Spillane took home his third Olympic silver medal in the 10K/Large Hill event, while Demong won the gold in the same event.

Over one thousand athletes are currently members of the SSWC, training in five alpine and nordic disciplines. So when Colorado Springs and the US winter sports community celebrates Wiik’s this month, they also celebrate a legacy of athletic excellence he helped create.

Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (SSWSC) is featured in SkiTrax’s Feb/Mar 2012 issue now on sale – for more info on the Steamboat click HERE.

SkiTrax FIS Fantasy WCup 2011/12 Contest – Standings after Nove Mesto

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February 16, 2012 (Toronto, ON) – We are pleased to announce the SkiTrax FIS Fantasy WCup 2011/12 Contest standings after the Nove Mesto WCup in the Czech Republic. Siggy’s Speedsters has earned 1,184 points and widened the gap over second place. Team 3LIT3, which is now at 1,177 points, has stepped into second and seems to be locked in a back-and-forth battle with third place, Team daviking, only six points back at 1,171. The maximum number of points after Nove Mesto is 1,286.

For the complete FIS WCup Fantasy Contest standings after Nove Mesto click HERE.

The next FIS WCup takes place in Szklarska Poreba, Poland, Feb. 17-18.

SkiTrax Fantasy FIS World Cup 2011/12 Contest Prizes
* 1st Prize Fischer 11/12 Carbonlite Hole Skis, Xcelerator Bindings, Carbonlite Poles (value $1,100)
* 2nd PrizeSkiGo Carbon 780 Roller Skis (value $580)
* 3rd Prize
Alpina ESK Ski Boots (value $449)
* 4th Prize Bjorn Daehlie Exclusive US XC Ski Suit (value $300)
* 5th Prize Sporthill XC Pants/Tights and Glacier Top (value $220)
* 6th PrizeFresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $150)
* 7th Prize – Bliz Proflip Visor (value $129)
* 8th PrizeRottefella Xcelerator Skate/Classic Bindings (value $120)
* 9th Prize
Concept2 Goodie Duffle Bag (value $100)
* 10th PrizeAuclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
* WCup BreakBuff Headware (value $23) to top 3 contest leaders before the Tour de Ski

Thanks to all of our great sponsors, including Fischer, SkiGo, Alpina, Bjorn Daehlie Clothing, Sporthill, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Rottefella, Bliz, Concept 2, Auclair, and Buff.

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup 2011/12 Tartu Maraton – Team Modification Now OPEN

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February 15, 2012 (Toronto, ON) – We are pleased to announce that team modification is now open for the FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup 2011/12 Contest – the twist. Contestants can modify their team until Feb. 18 at 10pm EST prior to the 63km CL Tartu Maraton in Estonia on Feb. 19.

Contestants may only swap one of their team’s four main skiers – either male or female – not their Outlaw Skier. All points earned to date by the skier that’s out are retained, and only points earned by the new skier from Feb. 18 going forward will be counted.

Note: you only have one chance to make the swap – once completed you will not be able to change your selection so please be sure of your choice before making the change.

To swap a skier on your team, click HERE.

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup Prizes

* 1st Prize OneWay Premio 10 WCup Skis, Diamond Storm Premio 10 Poles, SNS Premio Pilot Bindings. (value $1,350)
* 2nd PrizeNipika 4-nights for 2 people in luxurious cabin, including Trail Fees (value up to $1,160)
* 3rd Prize
Alpina ESK Ski Boots (value $449)
* 4th Prize Halti XC Race Suit Hemmo Set (value $269)
* 5th Prize  Fischer RCS QF poles  (value $225)
* 6th PrizeCross Country Canada e-Store Gift Certificate (value $200)
* 7th PrizeFresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $150)
* 8th PrizeRottefella Xcelerator Skate/Classic Bindings (value $120)
* 9th PrizeAuclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
* 10th PrizeBuff Headware (value $40)

Thanks to all of our great sponsors, including One Way, Nipika, Alpina, Halti, Fischer, Cross Country Canada, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Rottefella, Auclair, and Buff.

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

Talkin’ with the Gravy-Train – FIS Sprint Cup Leader Kikkan Randall Interview

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February 15, 2012 (Poland) – This week on Talkin’ with the Gravy-Train, Peter Graves checked in with top American female skier Kikkan Randall, the FIS Sprint Cup leader who is currently preparing for the inaugural WCup races in Szklarska Poreba, Poland. Despite a recent stomach bug and cold that forced Randall to sit out some races, she is pleased with her season to date – going so far to describe it as “wonderful”. Randall has two WCup wins this season and claimed two silver medals recently in Milan (in the individual sprint and team sprint, alongside team mate Jessie Diggins), plus pre-Xmas she took home a silver at the Dusseldorf team sprint with Sadie Bjornsen and at the Tour de Ski in Toblach, Italy she won silver in the FR Sprint. Randall sits 5th in the overall standings and Graves caught up wit her in Poland… XC ski fans rejoice – all of the Gravy-Train interviews will be archived shortly for fans to enjoy all season…

Interview w/Kikkan Randall

The Way I See It – US and Canadian Women’s Relay Teams

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February 14, 2012 – US Best – Sunday’s relay effort by the US women has to be one of the top racing days in the history of Women’s Cross Country skiing in the US – if not the top day. It opened a huge gateway into the future. There were many reasons for this relay to be a bomb of the year rather than an effort that would have everyone over here cheering in their offices, breakfast nooks, cars, and where ever they were watching this effort on their computers.

For starters Kikkan Randall, the team’s best skier, sat out another race. On top of that the four ladies on the team had skied a very hard 15km CL WC the day before, Holly Brooks (the starter) is still wearing her wrist splint (now and then) and doesn’t have a bunch of races under her belt the last few weeks and didn’t finish the classic race the day before. Ida, the 4th lady in the pecking order, was replacing Kikkan the leader – BUT – on race day they came to the start line dressed in their striped USA red, white and blue socks over their uniforms and painted red and blue USA’s on their faces to lay down four of the best performances in their careers landing the best-ever USA relay result – 5th place.

Not only missing 4th place by a second, but being less then a minute behind Norway who won – that is something to talk about. QUESTION: What does the future hold – it’s exciting for everyone – and kudos to the coaches and the skiers for their dedication to having such an aggressive approach to building the relay team’s going forward – here we come Sochi! They now have quality and depth in taking this direction that they decided on in the summer months. Sounds like a plan!

Now North of The Border – You have just the opposite direction being taken by the Ladies program in Canada. As I wrote last week the women never made it to Rybinsk and now moving forward (or backward) from there only Perianne [Jones] was in Nove Mesto, while Chandra had to go home for a family emergency and Dasha, the lone member of the newly formed “senior team”, was in Seefeld with her boyfriend for training and an Austrian Alps holiday. It’s been two weeks and only one of the three ladies has raced once in that period – not an international scope in focus that I can see.

Here are some of the numbers that will show you the disparity between the US and the Candian women’s program when it comes to racing starts from the beginning of the season in Sjusjoen, Norway to Nove Mesto, CZE.

Canadian Ladies:
– Dasha – 15 races
– Perianne – 17
– Chandra – 17 (emergency trip home)

US Ladies:
– Jessie – 24
– Kikkan – 35
– Holly – 34 (broken wrist)
– Liz – 33
– Ida – 25
– Sadie – 19 (off the circuit a couple of weeks ago)

I don’t place the blame on the Canadian girls, but on the coaching staff, mainly [Justin] Wadsworth and [Eric] DeNys as they work with the ladies and chart the course for the year. But mainly it’s the coaches direction and expertise that is counted on here for going in the right direction. You say I’m not being fair, what about the Men’s program? They’ve been pounding the circuit since Sjusjoen in mid-November, so why not the Ladies? It’s a program that is not building towards Sochi.

I can remember watching Devon [Kershaw] fighting his way through season’s 5-6 years ago and getting beaten down but going back for more the next year… and look at him now.

The Canadian Ladies are racing about 1.4 races per week (mostly sprints) which is not enough to be in racing shape. This plan has way too many breaks – the training should have been done in the summer. I think this was the way of the 90s, the old North American way, not the new dedicated “we will be in Europe all winter way” adopted supposedly by both team this year. Sorry Canadian Ladies – you got the short straw this year.

Can any of the Canadian Ladies make it to Falun for the WCup finals…? Not likely – Chandra has a chance, but it is slipping away fast. Time for this program to change gears – real fast.

Talk To You Next Time,

Canadian Birkebeiner Results, Video – Dunbar and Eikelenboom Prevail

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February 13, 2012 (Edmonton, AB) – Check out this video, featured on edmontonjournal.com, from the 55km Canadian Birkebeiner race and ski festival was held this past weekend in Edmonton. Barret Dunbar of Saskatoon won the full distancerace with a pack, while Wietske Eikelenboom of St. Albert won the women’s race. Full results HERE.

Watch video HERE.

2012 BirkieGuide.com – All You Need to Know About the American Birkebeiner

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February 10, 2012 – For the past two years, I’ve written a guide to the American Birkebeiner (which was lauded by several folks and even called “remarkably good” by Johnny Klister) and run the data from the race finishers and posted that on the web. I’ve fleshed out the blog post in to a more-full-blown website, birkieguide.com, which should help new skiers navigate the maze and old skiers chuckle about wave start times and rutted hills.

In other words, I have a severe case of the fever. And I’m trying my best to be contagious.

As race day nears, I’m keeping tabs, daily, on the long-range forecast and posting the “weather speculation” on the site. (All weather speculation posts go on the home page, but you can view only the weather speculation posts HERE.) I’m also keeping an eye on changes to registration, start times and trail closures and posting them as they come about, as well as anything else pertinent. And after the race I’m planning to run the numbers again, which, given templates from last year, should be a somewhat less arduous process. So keep an eye out for that in early March, too.

Thank you for all your work, do your snow dance (in Cable and Hayward and, this winter, everywhere but Alaska), and happy skiing!

RMSIA Report: Utah Leads Seawolf Invitational

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February 10, 2012 (Anchorage/Girdwood, AK) – Top-ranked Utah sits in familiar position atop the team standings after the first day of the Seawolf Invitational. But it was anything but a normal day on the hill for the RMISA schools here at Kincaid Park (Nordic) and Alyeska Ski Resort (alpine).

In a day where the Nordic and alpine teams competed a mere 40 miles from each other, the conditions could’ve have been more opposite. The Nordic freestyle races were held under ideal conditions while the giant slalom races were cancelled due to poor snow conditions.

Rain throughout the day Wednesday and mild temperatures overnight left about a six inch crust of hard snow at the Alyeska Ski Resort and conditions worsened throughout the day. The women completed one run and the men made it through about 20 skiers before race officials cancelled the remainder of the first run and both second runs.

Because the first run of the women’s race was completed, it will count as a race both for team scoring and NCAA qualification purposes. Because the men’s race was cancelled before the first run was complete, for the scoring of the Seawolf Invitational, Saturday’s slalom race will be doubled.

Utah’s Jamie Dupratt became the fifth different skier to win a GS race wih her first run time of 1:03.00. She beat out Alaska Anchorage’s Anais Urbain, who took second in a time of 1:03.44. Utah racked up 135 out of a possible 141 points by then finishing third and fourth as Julie Bordeau took third in 1:03.73 and Tii-Maria Romar fourth in 1:03.81. Colorado’s Erika Ghent rounded out the top five in a time of 1:03.87.

Utah’s 135 points topped host Alaska Anchorage’s total of 115 as the only two teams in triple digits. New Mexico (89), Colorado (86) and Denver (82) were all then within seven points while Montana State (73) edged out Westminster College (71) by two points.

Meanwhile in Anchorage, the women’s 5K interval start freestyle race started the days action and Colorado won the race impressively taking the top two spots individually. Eliska Hajkova won by 20 seconds over her teammate Joanne Reid with a time of 13:52.5 compared to Reid’s clocking of 14:12.8. Reid edged out UAA’s Jaime Bronga by six seconds as her time of 14:18.8 closed out the podium finishers. New Mexico’s Clara Chauvet (14:21.5) finished fourth while Utah’s Maria Graefnings rounded out the top five in a time of 14:30.6.

The Buffs tallied 120 points while Utah (105) and New Mexico (103) both hit triple digits and Alaska (98) just missed the mark. Montana State (90) and Denver (75) rounded out the team scoring.

On the men’s side in the 10K freestyle race, Montana State’s David Norris completed a successful double loop of the course in a time of 24:28.6, topping Colorado’s Rune Oedegaard by about 14 seconds (24:42.5). Oedegaard edged out Utah’s Miles Havlick, who closed out the podium in a time of 24:47.5. Denver’s Andrew Dougherty finished fourth in 25:12.9 with Montana State’s  earning fith place in a time of 25:19.1.

Montana State edged Utah in the team scoring for the race, 119-116, with Colorado (107) right on their heels. Denver (92), UAA (84) and New Mexico (73) rounded out the team scoring.

In a meeting of alpine coaches after the conclusion of the crazy day, it was decided that an extra qualifier race will take place in Montana ahead of the RMISA Championships. The men will get a make-up race while the women will earn a seventh race to help qualify for NCAA Championships.

The schedule in Montana will now begin on Wednesday, February 22, with slalom races that were originally scheduled for the following day. Those RMISA Qualifier races along with Thursday’s giant slalom make up races will both be FIS-U sanctioned. The RMISA Championships will then begin Friday with giant slalom races and conclude Saturday with slalom races. The RMISA Championships are not an FIS-U race but are sanctioned by the USSA.

Full results HERE.

SkiTrax FIS Fantasy WCup 2011/12 Contest – Standings after Moscow and Rybinsk

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February 09, 2012 (Toronto, ON) – The Viessmann FIS XC World Cup featured a Russian extravaganza last week with an exciting midweek sprint event in Moscow, followed by another World Cup weekend. It was a momentous week for Canada’s Devon Kershaw, who took home bronze in Moscow and GOLD in Rybinsk. Read the stories HERE and HERE.

Siggy’s Speedsters still has a hold on the SkiTrax FIS Fantasy WCup 2011/12 Contest lead with 1,097 points, but Team daviking has moved from third into a close second with 1092 points, bumping 3LIT3 into third and a mere three points back.

For the complete FIS WCup Fantasy Contest standings after Moscow and Rybinsk click HERE.

SkiTrax Fantasy FIS World Cup 2011/12 Contest Prizes
* 1st Prize Fischer 11/12 Carbonlite Hole Skis, Xcelerator Bindings, Carbonlite Poles (value $1,100)
* 2nd PrizeSkiGo Carbon 780 Roller Skis (value $580)
* 3rd Prize
Alpina ESK Ski Boots (value $449)
* 4th Prize Bjorn Daehlie Exclusive US XC Ski Suit (value $300)
* 5th Prize Sporthill XC Pants/Tights and Glacier Top (value $220)
* 6th PrizeFresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $150)
* 7th Prize – Bliz Proflip Visor (value $129)
* 8th PrizeRottefella Xcelerator Skate/Classic Bindings (value $120)
* 9th Prize
Concept2 Goodie Duffle Bag (value $100)
* 10th PrizeAuclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
* WCup BreakBuff Headware (value $23) to top 3 contest leaders before the Tour de Ski

Thanks to all of our great sponsors, including Fischer, SkiGo, Alpina, Bjorn Daehlie Clothing, Sporthill, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Rottefella, Bliz, Concept 2, Auclair, and Buff.

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

Silver Star 75 Nordic Festival Weekend – Feb. 18-19

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February 09, 2012 (Silver Star, BC) – Our cross country camps this past fall were a great success with people from all over North America singing the praises of our early season conditions as well as the high standard of coaching they received from our coaching staff.

The lead up to the Christmas holidays saw Scott Lemon and his team at Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre host the Haywood NorAm & Teck Sprint NORAM. Congratulations to our good neighbor and his talented team for pulling off yet another success race.

With 2012 firmly entrenched in our calendars, it’s time to let you know about the other new and exciting Nordic programming & special events happening at Silver Star this season. Coming up quickly is our Silver Star 75 Nordic Festival. This fun, grassroots event has been expanded and joins our other great XC events and programs happening this winter.

The Silver Star 75 Nordic Festival (February 18th & 19th) is aimed at introducing our sport to others as well as to have fun together as a Nordic community. We hope you will join us in doing both over these two fun filled days here at the resort.

For more information about the Silver Star 75 Nordic Festival and how to register yourself/friend for one a number of great events happening over the weekend please contact please contact the Snowsport School @ 250.558.6065 or click HERE.

Happy Trails!

City of Lakes Loppet Rocks Despite Snow Woes – Liebsch, Gregg Top Fields

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February 06, 2012 (Minneapolis, MN) – The City of Lakes Loppet on Sunday drew nearly 600 racers, despite an organizer’s nightmare that forced relocation of the event just one week before the date. Because recent snowfall weakened the ice resulting in puddles on the original Chain of Lakes route, the event was moved to a man-made snow loop in Theodore Wirth Park in north Minneapolis.

After snatching the men’s victory at the Boulder Mountain Tour in Idaho on Saturday, Matthew Liebsch (Team Strongheart/Team Birkie) continued his winning streak the following day in the freestyle discipline at the City of Lakes Loppet in Minneapolis, finishing the 17km race in a time of 37:06, with second place, Brian Gregg (CXC) right on his tail in second, only one second behind. Eric Wolcott placed third with a finishing time of 38:33.

Caitlin Gregg (CXC) took home the women’s title in a time of 40:32 with more than two minutes to spare over her teammate in second place, Jennie Bender. Natalia Yakimova picked up the final podium spot for third place.

Full results for all events HERE.

Dartmouth UVM Carnival Days 2-3 – Dartmouth Wins, Middlebury’s Johnson Dominates Nordic Races

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February 06, 2012 (Stowe, VT)  – Dartmouth College all but locked up the overall win at the UVM Carnival on Day 2 (Sat., Feb. 4) with a plethora of top-10 results across all disciplines at both Stowe Mountain Resort and the Trapp Family Lodge. The Big Green leads with 675 points, UNH is second with 558.5 and Middlebury sits third with 538. Vermont, competing with a shortened alpine roster, is fourth with 493 points, but team position changes beyond the win are expected tomorrow when the carnival concludes with the freestyle Nordic races.

In the women’s 5k classic at the Trapp Family Lodge, Dartmouth’s Sophie Caldwell took the win and her teammate Annie Hart was third. Caitlin Patterson of UVM squeezed between them for second. The third scoring skier for Dartmouth was Erika flowers in seventh, ensuring the team win. Middlebury Panther Patrick Johnson secured his second victory of the season today in the men’s 10k classic. Dartmouth’s Sam Tarling was second and UVM’s Franz Bernstein was third. Big Green skiers Eric Packer and Gordon Vermeer added critical team points in fourth and fifth, respectively.

Day 3
It was a picturesque bluebird day at the Trapp Family Lodge Sunday (Feb. 5) where Dartmouth claimed the overall win at the UVM Carnival with 916 points. On an impressive Nordic performance, Vermont rebounded from fourth place the previous day to finish in second with 735 points. Middlebury was a scant six points behind in third.

Vermont’s Caitlin Patterson, whose last win came in the opening freestyle race at the Bates Carnival, grew weary of numerous second place finishes since and skated to victory in the UVM Carnival women’s 10k freestyle race. “Sophie’s [Caldwell] had the past three wins, so I wanted to come back with a reply. When I got here I was extremely excited just to ski, let alone race, because of the great atmosphere and our team energy.” Caldwell of Dartmouth was second, her teammate Erika Flowers was third, and Catamount Lucy Garrec was fourth. The UVM women’s positive energy enabled them to best the Big Green in team scoring for the race.

Middlebury’s Patrick Johnson, the story of the weekend, skated to his second win of the carnival by a noteworthy forty-two second margin over Dartmouth’s Sam Tarling. Johnson noted, “Every race right now, I feel like I have a good chance to win. This course has a long uphill finish, and I was definitely really tired at that point which means I was able to put everything out there.” His fellow scoring Panthers finished eighth and eleventh. Franz Bernstein of UVM was third and his teammate Alexander Howe was fourth.

Final team scores at the conclusion of the UVM Carnival:
1. Dartmouth College – 916
2. University of Vermont – 735
3. Middlebury College – 729
4. University of New Hampshire – 698
5. Bates College – 534
6. Williams College – 512
7. Colby College – 576
8. St. Lawrence University – 441
9. Harvard University – 357
10. St. Michael’s College – 300
11. Plymouth State University – 213
12. Bowdoin College – 137.5
13. Boston College – 111.5
14. Colby-Sawyer College – 106
15. University of Maine Presque Isle – 72

Canada’s Kershaw Podiums Again as Peterson Wins Moscow WCup Men’s 1.5km Free Sprint

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February 02, 2012 (Moscow, Russia) – Canada’s Devon Kershaw grabbed a bronze medal in today’s cold and windy World Cup 1.5km Sprint in Moscow after topping the qualifications with superb skiing. Fifth-place qualifier Teodor Peterson (SWE) pulled out all the stops to snap up his first World Cup win, with Anders Gloeersen (NOR) wearing the #10 bib powering to second.

The mostly flat course winds itself around the famous Luzhniki Olympic Stadium in Moscow. A total of eight North Americans advanced to the heats in the men’s and women’s competitions today – read more about the qualifications HERE.

The result marked Kershaw’s second podium in as many weekend’s as he attempted to bring home Canada’s first WCup sprint gold medal. “My goal today was to just get to the front in each heat and I thought that would be the key to winning,” said Kershaw of Sudbury, Ont. in a team release. “My body is shocking me everyday. It was a long cold day, but I felt great again and it was a super solid race today.”

In the quarterfinals, Kershaw handily won his heat, skiing at the front the entire race and pulling away over the second hill for the win. Alex Harvey (CAN) also skied well, finishing second in his heat, with American Andy Newell in fifth. Len Valjas (CAN) was leading his quarterfinal, only to be nipped by Norway’s Eirik Bransdal at the finish as both advanced to the semis.

Kershaw placed a prophetic second to Peterson in the semis, despite sharing the lead with teammate Harvey for most of the distance until Harvey faded to wind up fifth and ended up 9th overall. Fellow Canuck Valjas finished sixth in his semi final and did not advance claiming 12th.

Kershaw looked strong in the final, skiing solidly in third and fourth positions. He made his move on the final hill with a powerful attack, but couldn’t hold off the storming Scandinavians, Peterson and Gloeersen, and had to settle for third.

“You should never be disappointed with a podium at a World Cup, but I am a little disappointed because I really felt like I was going to win,” added Kershaw, who also won a bronze medal last week in the 15-kilometre classic ski race last week in Otepaa, Estonia, his first race since placing fourth overall in the grueling Tour de Ski.

Looking at the big picture Kershaw was philosophical about his back-to-back podiums – one distance, one sprint. “It (these results) is crazy. The body is so good right now and I just always seem to be in that zone when the race is on. Sometimes you can be your own worst enemy, but right now I just feel like racing is a sanctuary for me and I feel so present.”

The world’s XC ski powerhouses take to the snow in Rybinsk, Russia this weekend, Feb. 4-5, for the distance races for the next round of FIS World Cup competitions.

Qualifications HERE.
Final results HERE.

USA’s Diggins Makes Final as Kowalczyk Tops the Field at Moscow WCup 1.5k Free Sprint

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February 02, 2012 (Moscow, Russia) – Twenty-year-old Jessica Diggins (USA) scored sixth today in the 1.5km Women’s Freestyle Sprint in Moscow, her best-ever individual World Cup result. Diggins was on fire qualifying first with a 2.47-second margin and started the final wearing the #1 bib – read more on the qualifications HERE.

“When I heard the results after the qualifier I actually thought it was some sort of joke they were playing on me! And then I did a couple backflips on the inside. Sometimes it all comes together at the right moment and you’re just having a great day,” Diggins told SkiTrax after her race.

Veteran skier, Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) put the power down when it counted in the final to take the win, followed by Natalia Korosteleva (RUS) in second and Anastasia Kotsenko (RUS) third. Diggins, who skied in third and fourth positions for most of the final, couldn’t maintain the blistering pace, and finished sixth. With her victory Kowalczyk takes over the overall WCup lead from Marit Bjoergen (NOR) who did not compete in Moscow but expects to be racing in Rybinsk this weekend.“The final was such an unreal experience for me, I was just so psyched to be there and tried my best to keep up but ran out of energy in the last couple hundred meters. But I was super pumped to be right there, in the fight and maybe someday I’ll be able to hang on longer,” said Diggins.

Diggins was the only North American to qualify for the final. Teammate and WCup Sprint Cup leader, Kikkan Randall, just missed out to finish seventh overall, with Ida Sargent 12th. Daria Gaiazova (CAN) was the top Canuck in 22nd, followed by team mates Perianne Jones in 24th and Chandra Crawford 36th.

“Wasn’t quite what I hoped for myself, but great to see my teammates ski so well,” Randall told SkiTrax. “Jessie looked like she has been doing this for years, skiing so smooth and confident. And great to see Ida get right in the mix as well.” It was an historic finish for the USA as it was the first time three Americans had made the semi finals.

Randall has been under the weather recently and we wondered if she’s 100% or still a little flat after being sick. “I think I’ve rebounded pretty well but I did feel like I was missing my final sprint gear today. I think I was about 95%,” said the Sprint Cup leader.

“It was pretty cold and windy out there!  Just like racing at Kincaid stadium in Anchorage,” quipped Randall.

The qualifying heats were exciting for Diggins, who led her quarterfinal from the start, only to be nipped at the line by Ida Ingemarsdotter (SWE). Randall was in the same boat, leading her quarterfinal, only to be taken at the finish, while Sargent squeaked into her first semis as a Lucky Loser.

Things heated up for the U.S. trio in the semis, with all three contesting the same heat. The Americans led for most of the semi, with Diggins taking the win, and Russia’s Korosteleva nipping Randall for second. Sargent finished sixth.

“In the semifinal I had a moment where I realized that USA was going 1-2-3 and I was just so excited to be there and be in that moment, making some history go down,” said Diggins.

Was Randall  surprised that Korostaleva nipped her at the line? “I knew she was coming on strong and I was having trouble digging into my sprint gear. I didn’t come off the bridge as strong as I wanted too and I think that cost me some momentum.  I gave it what I had but I didn’t quite have enough to the line today. Frustrating for sure to be so close,” she confided.

Diggins is stoked for her next chance to compete with the world’s best at this weekend’s FIS World Cup events in Rybinsk, Russia, Feb. 4-5. “I don’t have any big strategies for Rybinsk… just to go as fast as I can, and do my best.”

Qualifying results HERE.
Final results HERE.
WCup Overall standings HERE.

Canadian Ski Marathon 2012 – Feb. 11-12 Register Now!

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January 31, 2012 (Montebello, ON) – I am very proud to report that despite recent freezing rain and warm weather, the traditional trail – Gatineau-Montebello-Lachute – is in excellent condition. The full trail has been groomed creating a hard base with some parts of the trail boasting 45cm of snow.

… With plenty of snow expected in the forecast, groomers will do another pass next week to further pack down the trail for optimal conditions during the marathon. Other updates to the trail include;

– Section 7: Thanks to the generosity of the land owners east of St. Sixte, the trail is back in the fields, thereby avoiding the 2 km of skiing the sandy, salty snow bank along highway 317.

– Section 6: The Highway 50 underpass west of Montebello has been completed, eliminating the need to cross any autoroute construction sites.

– Section 5: The rocky pieces of trail north of Montebello, especially notorious in the last 2 years, has been completely rebuilt using a hydraulic shovel. The ups and downs are still there, but the rocks are gone and the previous hair raising turns are much safer.

– Section 4: The trail has been relocated to avoid the hill with the hairpin turn going down to the Kinonge River valley. It is still a big hill, but with sweeping turns and a new wide bridge at the bottom.

Plans are already in the works for more trail improvements in 2013 so we can all test our personal limits on a challenging, but safe, trail.

We are also happy to announce that CSM Section 5 (Montebello to Kanauk) is open now for people to try out before the marathon. You can pick up passes at the Hotel Ski Shop.

Finally, please reach out to all unregistered skiers who may be sitting on the fence. Don’t let the “It didn’t or I didn’t(s)” stop them from having an incredible February CSM experience.

Help us fill up the Montebello with sweaty skiers telling amazing CSM stories – don’t wait, book your Montebello room today!


Bill Syrros
President, CSM

Canada’s Klebl Snags 2nd Silver at IPC WCup Men’s 10km Sit Ski w/USA’s Cnossen 7th – Canuck Bourgonje 6th in Women’s Race

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January 31, 2012 (Cable, WI) – Canada’s Chris Klebl skied to his second-straight silver medal at the IPC Cross-Country Skiing World Cup in Cable, Wisconsin on Monday in the Men’s 10k sit ski race.

The 40-year-old Klebl, of Canmore, Alta., powered his way around the challenging Wisconsin track – site of the famous American Birkebeiner ski race – to finish in second spot with a time of 33 minutes, 26.7 seconds on the 10-kilometre course.

“It was a good day and we had really good skis,” said Klebl, who added the conditions were windy and cold.

Klebl joined the Canadian squad after moving to Canmore, Alta., last year from the United States. Growing up in Austria, he became paralyzed from the waist down in 1995 in a snowboarding accident. The two-time Paralympian started competing in cross-country skiing in 2005, and finished fourth overall on the World Cup in 2011 with one World Cup bronze medal.

It was just the second race of the season for the 2011 World Champion since breaking his leg in November.

While his quick comeback to top form is nothing short of stellar, Klebl was no match for Russia’s Roman Petushkov who finished nearly 90 seconds ahead of the Canuck with a time of 33:26.7.

“Petushkov was in a league of his own today, but fortunately I maintained the gap and opened the lead throughout on the third place,” said Klebl, who only had one informal race against friends in Colorado this season to measure his fitness. “You just never really know where you’re at. When the injury happened I was super fit and having surgery instead of a cast was a bonus because I only lost 10 real days of training.”

Italy’s Enzo Masiello was third at 33:59.0.

Two Quebec-based Canadians were also in the men’s sit-ski race. Sebastien Fortier was 14th at 37:56.4, while Yves Bourques finished 18th (42:35.2).

The U.S. squad was led by Daniel Cnossen, who finished seventh in a time of 35:11.5. His teammates, Andrew Soule and Jeremy Wagner finished 15th and 16th, while Eric Frazier, Jose Augusto Perez, Ken Lacombe, Robert Ackerman, John Kremer, and Dan Santos finished 19th through 24th, respectively.

Saskatoon’s Colette Bourgonje was the top Canadian in the women’s five-kilometre sit-ski event. The legendary Paralympian finished sixth at 22:46.5 – three minutes, 31 seconds off the golden pace set by Norway’s Mariann Marthinsen (19:19.2).

Alicia Brelsford Dana (USA) led Team USA in ninth place, with fellow Americans Christina Kouros and Micayla Briere in 11th and 14th spots.

Quebec’s Christine Gauthier was 10th at 31:11.1, while Ontario’s Christy Campbell placed 13th with a time of 35:47.2.

Men’s 10k sit ski results HERE.
Women’s 5k sit ski results HERE.

Other Canadian results on Monday included: Ontario’s Caroline Bisson was fifth (21:08.5) and Erica Noonan sixth (21:47.2) in the women’s five-kilometre standing category; Mark Arendz, of Springton, P.E.I., was 13th (31:37.2), and Louis Fortin, of New Brunswick, 21st (39:53.3) in the men’s 10-kilometre standing division; while Ontario’s Margarita Gorbounova and guide Brian Berry placed sixth at 19:22.4 in the women’s visually impaired division.

All results HERE.

14th Annual Noquemanon Ski Marathon Recap – Naryshkina, Ocariz, Brothers and Niemi Top Podiums

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January 31, 2012 (Marquette, MI) – Nearly 1,400 participants took part in the 14th annual Noquemanon Ski Marathon presented by Marquette General Health Systems. The headline event – the 50km classic – started in Ishpeming, home of the National Ski Hall of Fame. It was Santi Ocariz (CXC) who crossed the line first in Marquette after 2:31:20.9. In the women’s competition, Natalia Naryshkina won with a time of 2:56:34.9.

Michael Brothers (Alpina/Madshus) logged the fastest 50km freestyle in 2:20:35.5, while Paulette Niemi collected the women’s crown in 2:41:00.4.

Skiers also had opportunities to test themselves over shorter distances, such as the Bank Half-Marathon, a 24km race that uses the second half of the Noquemanon course, sharing the finish line outside of the Superior Dome. Andrew Bruning (CHS Boys) and Monica Markvardsen (NMU Ski Team) won the men’s and women’s 24k freestyle races, respectively, while classic counterparts Erik Soderman and Jordyn Ross, both from NMU Ski Team as well, took top spots in their categories.

Full results HERE.

31st Annual Craftsbury Marathon Results – Clare Egan and Nils Koons Top 50km CL Fields

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January 30, 2012 – The largest Nordic ski event in the east, the 31st Annual Craftsbury Marathon, took place on Sunday. Hundreds of participants of all ages challenged themselves on 25km and 50km classic routes that traversed the spectacular Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.

Ada Peters finished first in the women’s 25k competition, with Steven Mangan grabbing top honours in the 25k men’s event. In the 50k distance, it was Clare Egan (GRP) who came out on top in the women’s race, and Nils Koons (Rossignol) secured victory over the men’s field.

The 2012 edition of the TD Bank Craftsbury Marathon was a blend of old and new. Typifying this was the return of the new “old” course: the point to point! The Center partnered with Highland Lodge to bring back the popular point to point course traversing some of the most scenic ski terrain in New England. Extensive trail work has vastly improved the trail, removing bumps, sharp corners, steep chutes, and poor drainage on the connector. The trail work also allowed grooming of the entire course this year with Craftsbury’s team of PistenBullys.

Overall results HERE.
Age group results HERE.

Results (brief)

25km Women
1. Ada Peters
2. Julia Harrison
3. Karina Packer

25km Men
1. Steven Mangan
2. Silas Talbot
3. Hans Halvorsen

50km Women
1. Clare Egan
2. Sage Morrison
3. Robyn Anderson

50km Men
1. Nils Koons
2. Eli Enman
3. Scott Lacy

FIS Marathon Cup News – Aukland and Nyström Win 70km CL Marcialonga

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January 29, 2012 – The sun had just risen when nearly 7,000 competitors started their 70km classic long journey through the Fassa and Fiemme valleys for the 39th edition of the Marcialonga (ITA) . The best marathon skiers in the world stood in the front row, but most eyes where on Petter Northug Jr. (NOR). Everyone was very curious about how the Olympic champ would fare in the 70km Marcialonga, considering his biggest goal this season is to win the famous Vasaloppet.

However, it was not Northug who arrived in Cavalese first. Instead, it was Joergen Aukland from Norway, who managed a tremendous race, despite trailing the lead group not long from the start. He battled hard at the finish, especially with his older brother Anders, who took second place in the end. Both had already won the Marcialolnga: Joergen twice (2006 & 2003) and Anders once (2004). Third in this family affair was Stanislav Rezac (CZE) – winner of the first FIS Marathon Cup this season, the Jizerská Padesatka.

After 70 long kilometres and almost half an hour after the Auklands, it was time to celebrate the best women: Susanne Nyström (SWE) crossed the finish line first.  At the start, Nyström wasn’t too sure what to expect, as many things can happen over 70 kilometres.

Her team mate Jenny Hansson (SWE) followed in second and Italy’s Stephanie Santer skied into third spot.

Blue sky and perfect conditions made this traditional long distance race in the Trentino Area a wonderful experience for all – racers and spectators alike. The last racers were expected around 7pm.

Rezac (ITA) is tied with Joergen Aukland in the FIS Marathon Cup. Both have one victory and one third place on their account – now they are tied on the first place in the FIS Marathon Cup ranking with 160 points, followed by Anders Aukland who has 125 points – as does Jimmie Johnsson of Sweden.

It’s clearer on the women’s side: Jenny Hansson leads with 172 points on front of Susanne Nyström (165 points) and Stephanie Santer (146 points).

Elite results HERE.
Full results HERE.

Photos HERE.

Quotes from the top three

Joergen Aukland (NOR):
It’s fantastic to be the winner of the Marcialonga again! However, it didn’t seem to be that way in the beginning when I soon lost ocntact to the leading group. A fall on the way back down to Moena didn’t help either, but my team worked really well for me today. On the downhill part, I could catch some other racers and we went together while my skis got better and better and suddenly, when the leading group seemed to have made a full stop, we caught the remaining 30s and I was once again in the match. I saw that the others were already quite tired and I knew that I could still have a chance. I feared especially Rezac in the last steep uphill and was surprised that the others just let me go when I started my attack. However, I was only sure that I would win about 50m before the finish line! The last uphill is very special and you need to start training for it already in summer to get the right upper body strength. It’s my third victory now and I will certainly come back next year to fight for the famous fourth one.

Anders Aukland (NOR):
I am really satisfied with my second place today. The plan today was to start very hard as after the first 20km, not much happens until the last kilometres. So our team decided to attack right at the start to get a gap between us and the others. We worked really well together so that it was also possible for Joergen to join us again in the flat part. The Marcialonga is such a big cross country party and the atmosphere is amazing. For sur it’s also great to have so many Norwegians taking part in the race. But no, Petter Northug didn’t have too much influence in this race, even though we all put him together with about ten other people how could win today. Sure, it’s a great feeling to be an Olympic 50km Champion, but this is long distance racing! Petter really wanted to win today, but marathon skiing is different! And in the Marcialonga, it’s the strongest man who will be on the top! Petter just lost too much energy before arriving at the final climb. Surely he will be better at the Vasaloppet as the finish is different.

Stanislav Rezac (CZE):
I felt in good at the start this morning and I know that I am in good shape at the moment. However, I lost too much energy before the last climb, so I couldn’t attack as I had planned. I still caught Jerry Ahrlin, but that was it – I wasn’t able to fight for the victory. I stayed in Obertilliach after the Dolomitenlauf, but I will now get back home to my family before going to the König-Ludwig-Lauf. This is “my” race – I really like the finish, so I hope I can be in front again there!

Susanne Nyström (SWE):
It was an amazing feeling to pass the finish line as the first woman and to get the wreath. Jenny and me we worked together very well the whole way through – only at the last uphill, everyone was on her own. I felt good at the start, but I wasn’t sure what it would be worth as you never know what happens in such a long race. And the last climb is very special. Either you arrive in a good condition and you can win or not. When I arrived at the bottom today, I thought, I have a good chance to win so I went for it – and I got it! I am really happy!

Jenny Hansson (SWE):
I have a little problem with my eye, maybe because I looked too much to Susanne?! (laughs) However, the race was really good. It was perfect team work. Susanne and I skied together the whole time and helped each other. It was really fun to race and I really enjoyed skiing, even though it was a hard and tough race. Maybe this was also because we gave each other energy?! I am very happy for Susanne and for her victory and I am also very happy for my second place. To be the leader in the overall FIS Marathon Cup has been one of my goals this season, however, the season it not yet over, so let’s see how the other races go. I will definitely fight for the victory.

Stephanie Santer (ITA):
Right after the start I fell down and had huge problems to even get up again as people were standing on my skis and pushed from behind, but when I finally stood up and people were shouting at me “Stephi you are great, you can do it”, I thought, well I have to give it a try – if they believe in my, I won’t let them down. And throughout the race I recovered pretty fine. I pushed a lot outside the tracks as my skis seemed to be better outside them and I also did a lot of double polling. When I came to the final climb, I just gave everything I had left in me and it worked! I am so happy. I didn’t know the climb before, therefore I walked it up yesterday evening – but then it seemed to be longer than today somehow. But maybe that’s because people were encouraging you the whole way and were shouting your name – that really helped to give your last bit!